Letter to the editor

School choice for all Alna families

Posted:  Wednesday, February 7, 2018 - 12:15pm

Dear Editor:

As Alna’s second selectman for four years there were many issues on which we worked together.  Although my neighbors disagreed with my points of view sometimes, I hope everyone will agree that I like to let the data and facts speak clearly on any issue. The recent movement to amend Alna’s longstanding school choice policy is no different. Let’s look at one example that should be concerning to all citizens of Alna regardless of where they land on this issue. 

There is a claim that our student population is rising and that this trend will continue if we do not do something fast. False. We are not on the precipice of a large increase of student population in Alna. The data does not support this claim. It is unfortunate that the graphs being circulated around town only show the data back to 2010.  We need to look back to when K-8 choice began. Graphing back to 2000, you will see that the student population was actually much higher then than the recent high of 2018 (130 vs 115).  Alna student population acts in a cyclical manner when you analyze all of it. So yes, in the past five years the trend has been rising, but it is very likely to decrease again. Why? Because 24 Alna students will be graduating high school in the next three years!

There are many other examples where the claims made do not add up to the actual data and facts.  I encourage everyone to study up before attending both the public hearing and public vote. 

Disclosure: Both of my children attended Damariscotta Montessori School. I have been a high school technology education teacher in Wiscasset and thus support private and public schools. We made the choice that was right for our family and I strongly support the choice of all the families in Alna to choose what is best for their children. One last piece of data: Thanks to something called maximum allowable tuition, our choice to attend DMS ultimately saved RSU12 taxpayers an estimated $56,000 over the past nine years!

Jonathan Villeneuve