Wednesday, August 25, 2005

Response by David Hill to the Editorial

Secession by Chebeague a matter to be taken seriously


The editorial concerning Chebeague Island secession states that a considerable amount of tax revenue is at stake for Cumberland and MSAD #51. 
This statement is very premature, as the numbers have yet to be developed.  It could be that any revenue lost to the town and/or district will be offset by increased state school funding due to lesser property valuation, fees for school and municipal services and by Chebeague's payment of its share of debt service.
Even if the mainland were at economic risk, why is it OK for Chebeague to be forced to continue a course into oblivion for the sake of saving the mainland from a financial "hit"?
The paper suggests that Chebeague be allowed to secede, but should stay in MSAD #51.  There is absolutely no assurance that MSAD #51 can guarantee the survival of the Island School - only local, i.e. island control, can do that.
A more effective school alliance is suggested.  Mainland and Chebeague parents have been trying that for fifty years with little success.  Again, only local control and cooperation with other islands can provide the collaboration of school and community that Chebeague's children deserve.
The editorial concludes by saying that Cumberland should "make a serious effort to address the concerns of the islanders."  Indeed, they should.  By assisting Chebeague to secure its independence, the town can help to preserve an island community that is otherwise destined for extinction.  And they can do so without taking the financial hit that some fear.