letter to the editor

Re: School choice in Alna

Posted:  Tuesday, March 13, 2018 - 7:15am

Dear Editor:

The data presented to support limiting school choice in Alna is cherry-picked, arranged and presented to make a compelling case to discourage families with children from moving to town, in hopes of saving tax dollars. Why stop there? With more data analysis I’m sure other groups of people could be identified as potentially more expensive that we should keep out, or elements in town that may not be pulling their weight, that we could target for removal. What is the ideal demographic envisioned by the petitioner and select people?

This is dangerous logic that emphasizes the wrongheadedness of this approach to population control. I don’t believe those spearheading limiting school choice have nefarious motives. I do believe, however, that the lack of inclusive discussion on such an important issue is intentional, and has led to unproductive worst-case scenario rhetoric like my opening paragraph.

Alna will be a destination with or without school choice given its beauty and proximity to thriving scenic towns with services, route one, and Augusta. Some truly distasteful things will have to happen that make the town extremely unattractive to effectively stop growth ... the kind of things that are happening in Whitefield.

Being able to afford to live in town isn’t an issue of age. I don’t make as much money as I once did and will likely have to make some lifestyle changes to maintain my family’s piece of heaven in town. I was never in the military, have no pension, and am skeptical about Social Security. I am not, however, willing to saddle the remarkable kids in this town with my financial and cultural insecurities. This decision probably can’t be undone and I will not support limiting school choice without a lot more thought, a lot more research, and at least one better than decent public school option nearby, within the RSU.

The solution to tax concerns can’t be to prevent kids from moving to Alna by limiting the options of their parents. It sounds wrong because it is. We have to do better.

Josh Manahan