On July 31, 2012, Saco Voters Will Be Asked a Referendum Question:
"Do you favor filing a petition for withdrawal with the Board of Directors of Regional School Unit No. 23 and with the Commissioner of Education, authorizing the withdrawal committee to expend $30,000 and authorizing the Municipal Officers to transfer the amount not to exceed $30,000 from the City of Saco's undesignated fund for this purpose?"
At the regular City Council Meeting on July 16, 2012, the Council voted to support a "yes" vote on the July 31, 2012 RSU 23 referendum question.
The City Council approves the reasons for withdrawal as follows:
Saco seeks to operate as a single, Municipal School Unit due to its sufficient economic scale and its historical commitment to support a strong school system. More specifically, Saco seeks to withdraw from RSU23 based on the following benefits:
The benefits for Saco citizens, short term, if Saco withdraws:
Saco will be able to more effectively control its costs, and perhaps, reestablish relationships with other neighboring communities in a more limited structure of cost-sharing that delivers efficiencies in an equitable way.
Saco's Local Contribution, State Subsidy and Other Income will not be diluted into the cost-sharing structure of the RSU23.
Saco will not be expected to partially finance the inefficiency ratios established by the Department of Education that continue to exist elsewhere in the RSU23.
If Saco parents, teachers and/or taxpayers are unhappy with a proposed school budget, we will be able to focus with greater clarity on developing solutions. In other words, Saco citizens will be accountable for Saco's schools and not use its much greater population to disturb the educational goals of other communities.
There will never be a threat of needlessly busing Saco students to another community for the sake of allegedly correcting economic inefficiencies. The current school board says that a mandate is off the table but will not rule it out. The Resource Equalization Committee hired Delorme Mapping to create hypothetical redistricting scenarios to establish more sustainable student populations in a neighboring community. That geographical proposal does not consider the emotional impact on a child who has spent 6 years within his or her own community of peers, and following grade 5, is entering into the emotional roller coaster of adolescence. The potential, negative impact with respect to academic performance and social development cannot be underestimated.
The benefits for Saco citizens, long term, if Saco withdraws:
Citizens of Saco will have greater flexibility and discretion in addressing their long-term infrastructure needs rather than trying to reconcile a much greater disparity of need among towns in this RSU23.
We will have more effective fiscal planning and coordination as a total municipality, and therefore, greater total efficiency.
We will have removed special interest activities, and thus, be able to focus on the best course for Saco's educational development and future interests.
We will have removed a structure that is conducive to divisiveness, animosity and distrust among communities, which have historically co-existed, in a more harmonious fashion.
In summary, it is our opinion that the differences and complexities that exist in this particular arrangement are structurally, behaviorally, and quantitatively irreconcilable.