Speno hits media for tech school coverage

By Beth A. Birmingham | Sep 11, 2019
Photo by: Beth A. Birmingham RSU 40 School Board member Matthew Speno, right, tells fellow board members of his outrage at the local media's coverage of the opening of the new Mid-Coast School of Technology Sept. 5. Also shown, from left, are board members Julie Swindler and Morgan Hynd.

Waldoboro — At the Sept. 5 meeting of the Regional School Unit 40 Board of Directors, a board member voiced his displeasure at the negative media attention at the opening of the new $21.5 million Mid-Coast School of Technology in Rockland.

Board member Matthew Speno, who represents the town of Union and is a member of the Mid-Coast School of Technology Board, said, "As a board, we need to support our board at MCST."

He went on to say the facility is state-of-the-art and is going to change the face of CTE in Maine.

"Right now what you see in the papers is taking away from what we're doing for the kids," Speno said.

He urged the board to make a statement in full support of the MCST board, "because we all built this school."

"What has happened, the narrative is about a fence ... it's not about the school and what we can do for the community," he said.

Speno said the school just opened and the talk of the town is the fence, not the state-of-the-art facility that 19 towns agreed to build.

"I'm pretty, pretty annoyed about this," he said. "Because we are taking away from our learners in RSU 40 ... we're setting them up for failure, in the sense that they're not valued because of this fence issue."

"It's about egos and emotion," he said.

Board member Melvin Williams made a motion that the RSU 40 board support the MCST board 100 percent.

"Because we are part of it, and why pay our part of the bill if we can't work together?" Williams said. "As Matt said, we're for the students, and this fence has nothing to do with what education is."

Board member Guy Bourrie agreed that the fence issue doesn't deal with the good things that the school is doing, but said it does have to do with the people who paid for the school. He noted that the fence isn't the only issue.

"As you know, the utilities on the roof are keeping people up at night, and that can be fixed up easily," Bourrie said. "The only thing we hear going on down there is from the newspaper."

He said he believed the RSU 40 board should be hearing of the issues from members of the MCST board.

"There are always two sides to every one-way street," Speno said, "and as board members I think we have a responsibility to look out for our constituents, RSU 40,and support the MCST board without question."

Williams noted that, now with four members of the RSU 40 board on the MCST board, questions should be asked and answered regarding what is happening at the new school.

"If we don't, we're not doing our job," he said.

Chairman Danny Jackson referred to a prior MCST meeting where, during the public comment portion, questions were asked and addressed regarding the fence issue. However, he said, the board has not formally addressed the issue.

Board member Richard Butler volunteered to fill an open position on the MCST board and Jackson announced that Staci Bowman had resigned from the RSU 40 Board of Directors to accept a teaching position at Medomak Valley High School. Daniel Furrow replaced Bowman.

The board voted to table the motion until the Oct. 3 meeting in order to take some time to formulate just what and how it wants to support the MCST board, which next meets Sept. 25.

Courier Publications reporter Beth A. Birmingham can be reached at 594-4401 ext. 125 or via email at bbirmingham@villagesoup.com.

Speno reprimands media for tech school coverage
(Video by: Beth A. Birmingham and Tyler Curtis-Southard)
Comments (1)
Posted by: Stephen K Carroll | Sep 14, 2019 11:34

Think you’re barking up the wrong tree. Most of the controversy is being stirred by Mss fisher and the board. Thought the paper did a good job covering the facts. Perhaps the truth hurts. Think they need to work on their “good neighbor policy “



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