Roberts calls for action on middle school merger
Rockland — School board candidate Steven Roberts said Regional School Unit 13 needs to take action on the planned middle school merger and district strategic plan to save money and stop wasting time students will not get back.
Roberts, who moved to the city in November 2012 from Hope, is running for one of two available seats on the board to represent Rockland. He is facing off against incumbent board members William Pearce and Donald Robishaw Jr.
Roberts, who is semi-retired, but operates an art studio in Rockland, is running for the board because he feels it is a place he can make the most difference for the community, families, children and the future.
The delay in merging Rockland District Middle School and Thomaston Grammar School is costing taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars per year, Roberts said.
RSU 13 spends about $500 per student each year more on facilities maintenance than the average school district in Maine, he said.
"This is due mostly to two major problems, old facilities and too many facilities," Roberts said.
The district's strategic plan, which was adopted last spring, has a number of good ideas and helpful initiatives, he said, but the school board took two years to develop it and six months later nothing has been put into action. It is likely, Roberts said, that all current board member's terms will expire and there will be a new superintendent before anything is ever implemented.
"In the meantime school administration continues to cannibalize teaching/education staff by deleting positions to reduce costs, rather than fix the problem," he said. "We are wasting time and these kids don't get that time back."
In his years of experience as a mechanical engineer, engineering manager and manufacturing program manager in the auto industry, Roberts said he learned the importance of getting things done on time, operating on tight schedules, creating productive teams, listening, communicating and making the seemingly impossible happen.
South School is the only school in the district that received a D grade under the state's grading system.
Roberts said per pupil expenditures are $2,600 less at South School, than at Cushing Community School and that school received an A.
"There is some basic lack of equity as far as those kids are concerned," he said. "Those students who are struggling are the ones we can't afford to let down."
Roberts has been reading "The Smartest Kids in the World: And How They Got That Way," which discusses education in Finland, Korea and other countries who do not have such an emphasis on technology.
He said the district leans a little too much on technology and in 12 years it will be completely different.
"Technology is not hard to pick up — a commitment to being a lifetime learner is beneficial," Roberts said.
The school board has three major purposes, he said: To provide the best education possible, to upgrade the potential future of the community by facilitating the growth of the community by creating a solid base of intelligent, curious, responsible, engaged and productive citizens and to contribute to the desirability and economic development of the area by providing educational opportunities to students that competes with the best in the state, nation and world.
"As a candidate, I feel we can do this job, improve our education results, and reduce costs to our local taxpayers," Roberts said.
The election is Tuesday, Nov. 5
Courier Publications Copy Editor Kim Lincoln can be reached at 594-4401 or by email at email@example.com.
594-4401 ext. 120
Kim Lincoln has worked for Courier Publications since 2003, serving as a reporter, assistant editor and copy editor.
During her time with the company she has worked for each of the three newspapers, The Courier-Gazette, The Camden Herald and The Republican Journal.
When she is not in the newsroom, Kim likes to be outside, whether it be gardening, swimming, hiking or just enjoying the sunshine.
Recent Stories by Kim Lincoln
Dec 05, 2013
Dec 05, 2013
Dec 05, 2013
Dec 04, 2013
Dec 03, 2013