For many, many months, I have thought a lot about our area schools. Perhaps it started when Wiscasset shuttered its primary school on Gardiner Road and moved those classes to the elementary school on Federal Street. It was a sign of the times but I couldn't help but think back to when Wiscasset had enough high school students to be a Class B school in athletics and Boothbay Region had over 300 students year after year.
The scary thing is, the Wiscasset and Boothbay regions are not alone in the state when it comes to dwindling student enrollments and aging buildings. Scarborough and Cape Elizabeth have been in the news since the beginning of the year regarding their schools and whether to spend millions of dollars to renovate the existing ones or to build new schools. There may be several others around the state in the same situation.
This Friday and Saturday will be the time to speak up on deciding about the future of our Boothbay Region schools, specifically the elementary school and the high school. Do we want to continue to pour money into the aging facilities (the high school opened in 1956 and the elementary school opened in 1977) or consider some other options?
As you may have noticed, one of the front page stories this week is about this week's meetings, which will last about an hour. Parents of students are asked to attend the Friday meeting at 5:15 p.m. in the BRHS library, local business leaders are invited to the same location at 9 a.m. on Saturday, and there will be a second meeting on Saturday for the general public beginning at 10:15 a.m.
The weather forecast may have something to do with the turnout on Saturday. However, if those meetings are postponed, we will announce it online. In the meantime, start thinking about what you think the future of Boothbay Region’s elementary and high schools should be and either show up to one of the meetings or let Superintendent of Schools Keith Laser know your thoughts.