Lincoln County News | Newcastle, ME
Friday, April 29, 2016 Serving Maine and Lincoln County for over a century. Volume 141 Issue 17

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home : letters : letters to the editor April 29, 2016

10/30/2013 2:00:00 PM
TAKE THE NEXT FORK
Editorial

The noted philosopher Yogi Berra once opined, "When you come to a fork in the road, take it."

Wiscasset voters come to a fork in their road next week on Nov. 5, when they finally get to decide for themselves whether or not to pull their town out of RSU 12. Whatever their decision, the consequences could impact the town for years to come.

Proponents of withdrawal argue a town school system standing on its own two feet will cost taxpayers less in the long run and provide more local control.

Proponents of staying in argue costs will stabilize and RSU 12 offers the benefits of shared resources.

Frankly, we are not sure whom to believe.

RSU 12 officials and members of the Wiscasset Educational Research Panel both have a history of looking at the same numbers and coming up with different figures.

We do think the RSU's revised funding formula will see net cost decreases for Wiscasset in the years ahead. We attribute much of the current uncertainty over the formula's success to RSU 12's uncertain future.

Four RSU 12 towns, Westport Island, Palermo, Windsor and Wiscasset are all currently in various stages of withdrawal efforts.

Proponents of withdrawal have long argued doing so will create lower costs for the town. While the benefits of local control are readily apparent, we will be interested to see if Wiscasset is actually better off financially in the long run.

Two things are certain. This is a binding vote.

If Wiscasset voters decline to withdraw, or if fewer than 833 voters turn out, the withdrawal will fail. If less than 60 percent of the voters are in favor of withdrawal, Wiscasset won't be able to reconsider the issue at the polls again for at least two years, and who knows what the situation will be then?

If Wiscasset pulls out, it would not surprise us at all if Westport Island, Palermo, and/or Windsor all follow suit, creating a bit of an issue for RSU 12 officials. The future of the RSU however, is not Wiscasset's problem. We urge Wiscasset voters' to consider the issue carefully before going to polls next Tuesday.

If this whole sorry episode has made one thing clear, it is, that school consolidation was a boondoggle from the get-go and the bastard child that is RSU 12 is example 1A why.



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