Robishaw calls for one high school, one middle school
Rockland — Donald Robishaw Jr. said it is important to find a balance between student and taxpayer needs.
Robishaw is running for re-election to the Regional School Unit 13 Board, which he has served on since first being elected in 2011. He is being challenged by incumbent board member William Pearce and newcomer Steven Roberts. Two three-year terms are available.
He is a Rockland native, attending and graduating from city schools and spent his life working here. He is now retired from Rockland Fire Department, but still serves as a captain and a safety officer. His son also attended Rockland schools and still lives locally.
Robishaw said he truly enjoys being on the board and still wants to help improve education.
"We can't afford 11 buildings," Robishaw said.
RSU 13 should have one middle school and one high school, he said. During talks, it has been discussed to take the money saved from consolidating and put it into updating the infrastructure — a move Robishaw does not completely agree with.
"That is not savings," he said. The board needs to find a way to have a percentage of the funds go back into reducing taxes.
He said he tries very hard with his votes to consider both the students and the taxpayers and when the board is talking about spending large amounts of money, he makes sure to ask a lot of questions to make the best decision.
In addition, Robishaw said, he thinks Superintendent Lew Collins is on the right track by approaching Legislature in hopes of finding fairness in the way state subsidy is allocated among school districts.
The cost of funding education in Maine is shared between the state and municipalities in each district. State funding to local school districts is based primarily on the Essential Programs and Services or EPS formula and is based on enrollment and property values. Collins believes a community's income should be part of the equation.
With RSU 13's close proximity to the ocean, property values are higher than inland towns — therefore Midcoast schools receive far less from the state than other schools in the district. RSU 13 receives 12 percent of its operating costs from the state.
"I commend Lew on that for stepping up. I would like to see others [across the state] get on board with it," Robishaw said.
The district has made a switch this school year from laptops to iPads. Robishaw said they are supposed to make things easier by having everyone connected, but there has been problems getting them networked.
"A lot of people think I'm not tech-savvy or I'm against technology, but I'm not," he said.
However, he said, it does scare him a little that students are not getting the basics. He read an article about students in the Silicon Valley who do not use technology and what they are doing is working. There should be a balance, he said.
"Technology is important for the future, but you have to master the basics," Robishaw said.
The district needs to be mindful that everyone learns differently and respect that. He said he will be found in board meetings with loads of paperwork in front of him because he is constantly taking down notes and writing questions.
"If anyone knows me and sees what I've done on the school board, they can't question the time and dedication I've put into it," Robishaw 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.
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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.
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