School choice is an insurance policy

Posted:  Monday, March 5, 2018 - 4:15pm

Dear Editor:

On the eve of the Alna school choice informational meeting I am writing this letter to address two issues; emphasizing  some important facts and responding to recent activities regarding school choice. As to the school choice facts, this is just a short list.

All students cost the town the same no matter where they attend school, unless home-schooled. Today students make up a slightly smaller percentage of the Alna population than in 1999, when choice started, so we are not being flooded with new families.

We have witnessed some of our schools go through many crises including changes in leadership and lack of resources resulting in negative impacts on children’s educations. The power to choose schools is an insurance policy against being unable to leave a collapsing school environment.

As there is no cost difference, school choice as it is represents the best allocation of the money spent by freeing families to find the school that best fits their educational values and goals.

Altering choice does not guarantee the  town and taxpayers will save any money at all next year. Guessing who may or may not move to or away from town in the future is pure speculation.

The second issue is about recent statements from the town selectmen. I have no doubt about their commitment to the town. Not acknowledged is the longstanding vendetta against school choice by at least one selectman. There is no possibility he/she can objectively evaluate this issue. Becoming selectman didn’t make that opinion less or more valid.

Their message amounted to an attack on a concerned citizens’ group. They tried to contrive an air of suspicion and conspiracy around a simple group of residents motivated by the desire to have quality education for our children. Are these people scary because they chose to organize and act? They aren’t secret in any way, they just don’t consider their identities to be the important issue. If it is for you, I am one and my name is Patrick Sanborn, 14-year Alna resident, my email is Nobody is hiding.

Patrick Sanborn