RSU 40 rejects Many Flags proposal
Waldoboro — The Regional School Unit 40 board narrowly rejected the Many Flags/One Campus proposal to integrate a secondary and post-secondary education model for the region at the Thursday, Oct. 4 meeting.
The vote — 8 opposed to 6 in favor of the plan — followed discussions between RSU 40 board members and Many Flags Project Manager Alan Hinsey and Many Flags Steering Committee Member Tori Manzi.
RSU 40 Board Member Gail Hawes said she has not seen anything concrete about how RSU 40 students will benefit from added services at the campus when students would not be there full-time.
Another concern is the lack of community outreach and public awareness she said, citing an informal poll she conducted where nobody she spoke with could properly identify what the Many Flags proposal is about.
Hawes added the lack of a contingency plan is short-sighted given the current environment of limited education funding. "I'm still going to vote no. I see changes in here that to me, look like lip service to concerns rather than answers to questions," she said.
Manzi said she understood the concerns of the board and added the reservations are not unfounded. "We're just trying to move forward," Manzi said, and added the physical campus idea at this point is not a focused reality. "The campus is not important to us right now."
Board member Ann Donaldson said she is for regionalization but against "another layer of administration." Donaldson voted against the plan.
Board Member Tod Brown said he shared concerns of his fellow board members, but was willing to accept the plan. "At this point, I would like to continue to go forward. It's kind of nebulous, but it's worth taking a look," he said. "Somewhere down the road, this is where education is going," he added.
Board Member Maggie Massengale said it behooves the board to find out what the cost to the district would be, consider the benefits, and then decide how to proceed.
Alan Hinsey, project coordinator for Many Flags/One Campus said he is still encouraged by the unanimous support from RSU 13, Region 8 and Five Town Community School District despite the RSU 40 vote. He added the plan will go forward.
The Many Flags steering committee will meet Oct.15 and Hinsey said the invitation to attend is extended to the RSU 40 steering committee members. "We still would like their input and hopefully they will change their mind and join us," he said.
Hinsey said RSU 40 will still be involved as they will continue to send students to the vocational programs offered by Region 8.
Business Manager R. Scott Wyman announced his resignation, effective Nov. 2. Wyman accepted a position closer to his family in southern Maine.
Continued criticism from citizens dominated the public session, with two community members recalling the plagiarism incident — where Superintendent Susan Pratt allegedly copied another district's strategic plan.
Comments were not addressed by Pratt, and Board Chair Danny Jackson attempted to hinder the speech of one individual, citing the accusations were becoming "personal."
Courier Publications reporter Juliette Laaka can be reached at 594-4401 ext. 118 or via email at JLaaka@courierpublicationsllc.com.