Thanks, Mr. $3.5M

Dear Editor:

Far from refuting the basic facts, Mr. [Roy] Gott confirms that the student enrollment numbers that govern the proposed Sumner 6-12 were arbitrary [“About those Sumner numbers,” April 18]. I am happy that Mr. Gott chose to write The American because he clearly shows what opponents of this plan have been saying all along — we are being given a “take or leave it” proposal that has little educational validity.

Mr. Gott also manages to repeat the ludicrous assertions of the district’s architect, who I call “Mr. $3,500,000” (that’s his firm’s take on this boondoggle). These two claim again that small class sizes are not good for students. Poppycock.

The same architect argued in public that “new studies have shown middle school kids are capable of more, so the challenge of being in the same building as high school kids is a progressive trend across the nation.” I have challenged the district to show a single study that shows this and I do so again here. It simply doesn’t exist.

But the fiction is necessary for the state to claim it is actually helping students.

I did not appreciate Mr. Gott criticizing Cave Hill School. If Mr. Gott thinks a single athletic season is so important, the district could make collective athletic teams without disrupting the academic institutions that our small towns are built on. So because there wasn’t a fifth-grade basketball team one year we take away Eastrbook’s famous Friday night eighth-grade games forever?

Another mischaracterization by Gott is that the tax bill is not shared by all of us. He points to the local contribution only. Who does he thinks pays the Maine state tax bill? Texans?

I will add this letter to long list of outrageous claims and arm twisting. Like “Mr. $3.5M,” who said, “The state of Maine has no interest in increasing funding to your local elementary schools.” And my personal favorite, “The state of Maine will only pay for flat roofs.”

This is how we end up with a school plan where, despite all kinds of room, we have a design where the middle school is stacked on top of the high school, an afterthought. We have three conjoining stairwells that make separation of sixth-grade girls (like mine someday) and 12th-grade boys impossible.

You make no guarantees that our local schools won’t be closed in the future. How about some assurances from the state before we do this? This isn’t just Cave Hill we’re talking, either; there is also the other elementary schools affected.

And if you really must do this, this is a lousy design with only one dedicated computer space — 12 computers for 500 kids in seven grades stuck in the middle of the library. The multitude of small learning spaces is unusable by law with the projected staff. Middle school kids in the case of an emergency have to somehow get through the high school area. There are no magnetometers. The seats slope down from the auditorium so no one can see what’s going on the stage.

Thanks. Mr. $3,500,000!

Christopher Kerrigan



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