Getting involved in our public schools

Please consider getting involved in your public schools whether you have children in school or not. Even if you are very short on time, you can read the minutes of the school board meetings online and skim through the school newsletters which are usually posted online. If you would speak at even one or two school board meetings a year the impact would be huge. If you have the time and the inclination to run for your local school board, they need you. 

Almost no one attends our school board meetings anymore and even fewer people sit on the board. There were two empty slots on the ballot here in Hope. I decided to run at 2pm in the afternoon of voting day and was voted in with only six votes. While it is understandable and even laudable to choose to homeschool your children, there are families who don’t have that option. They need our support. The school budgets are the lion’s share of our property taxes and those taxes are going up at an alarming rate. Here are a few things for your consideration.

LD 864 “An Act To Protect Teachers’ Privacy While Delivering Zoom Instruction” passed on June 16, 2021  http://legislature.maine.gov/LawMakerWeb/summary.asp?ID=280063804.

Governor Mills signed a statewide bill giving teachers a raise, effective this year. Individual towns may no longer set their own wage scales. This new minimum wage for teachers will have a major impact on the taxes in our little community.

Effective this year, children who are not fully vaccinated may not attend school or participate in any of the after school activities. Exemptions are very difficult to get, even with your doctor’s support.

Many schools are holding vaccination clinics for students during the school day. Half of the middle school students in our community have been vaccinated and they are looking forward to vaccinating all students K-12 in the near future.

Most school boards do not pay enough attention to the building maintenance fund. We have some major expenses coming up in our local school which should not have been a surprise to anyone. I asked about the insulation in our K-8 school and was told that the fairly new building is made of uninsulated cement block.

Do you know what the ratio of teachers to students is? I was told that it is one teacher for every two students here in Hope.

Every student in our school union receives free breakfast and lunch whether they need or even want them. I was told the meals were “healthier than my kids would like” by a school committee member but after taking a quick look through the invoices I can tell you that these meals wouldn’t be considered healthy by many of you. Can you imagine how much of this food goes to waste and why are taxpayers providing meals for families who don’t need them?

Look at the teacher training, posters, books, policies etc in your local school.  If you wouldn’t find them acceptable for your child or if you wouldn’t want your tax dollars going toward them, then please make yourself heard.

As Carolyn from our Hope group said, “We Are the Seeds of Change”.

Crystal