On October 11, 2018, the RSU 12 Board of Directors discussed a petition filed by a group of Chelsea citizens to withdraw from RSU 12. The Board of Directors strongly opposes any Chelsea withdrawal. The Board of Directors voted unanimously in favor of the following resolution.
A Resolution by the RSU 12 Board of Directors Concerning the Town of Chelsea’s Petition to Investigate Withdrawal from RSU 12
October 11, 2018
The RSU 12 Board of Directors supports the current seven-town RSU 12
It is has come to the attention of the RSU 12 Board of Directors that a petition has been submitted to the Chelsea Selectman encouraging the citizens of Chelsea to investigate withdrawal from RSU 12. The Selectman of Chelsea voted to put this question to the citizens of Chelsea by secret ballot on November 6, 2018. There will be a public hearing about this ballot question on October 25, 2018 at 6:30pm at Chelsea Elementary School.
The RSU 12 Board of Directors wants Chelsea citizens to be aware that five years ago, the towns of Palermo, Westport Island, and Windsor all appropriated $15,000 in order to investigate withdrawal from RSU 12. In 2014, a majority of voters from all of these individual towns rejected the idea of withdrawal from RSU 12. 70% of Palermo voters voted to remain in RSU 12, 61% of Windsor voters voted to remain in RSU 12, and Westport Island citizens ended the withdrawal process by majority vote at a town meeting. After investigating, all three towns concluded that no savings would be achieved by withdrawing from RSU 12. In fact, most towns in Maine who consolidated in 2009 have remained as part of a Regional School Unit (RSU).
The RSU 12 Board of Directors supports the continued participation of all current member towns, in which significant progress has been made on many fronts to improve the educational achievement of all students in Sheepscot Valley Regional School Unit 12. Continuing in our present form builds on the strengths we have developed over the last nine years including meaningful teacher, staff and administrator evaluation systems, teacher-led professional development and mentoring, shared programming, many types of individualized student instruction and learning, and facilities upgrades, while preserving the unique traditions and characteristics that enlivens each of our schools.
Since consolidation in 2009, RSU 12 has successfully focused its efforts on improving student achievement by improving teacher effectiveness, and implementing effective programs for student learning. Each member school’s average student proficiency scores in Math and Reading have climbed. RSU 12 spends more per student on direct instruction and less on administrative costs than many districts in the state. According to the Maine Department of Education’s website where they list the most recent year they have data for education spending, the 2016-2017 average per pupil operating cost in Maine was $11,860. RSU 12’s average per pupil operating cost that year was $11,395.
Our educators throughout the district have benefited from being part of a larger district that shares resources across towns and schools which helps students, teachers and administrators become highly effective learners and education professionals. Chelsea students benefit from being part of a district where programming and resources are shared. Parents and students in RSU 12 have the added benefit of attending schools outside of their town if they wish and can provide transportation. Any Chelsea students not attending Chelsea currently, would need to return to Chelsea if Chelsea withdraws. Being in RSU 12 has allowed the district to provide Chelsea students with greater educational opportunities throughout the district at no additional cost to the towns or the district.
Our Central Office is sized to get the job of supporting our students, their families, and our schools done. Our Superintendent is tireless in his efforts to instill rigor and challenge in our schools and classrooms, with an expectation of excellence for both our students and our staff, which has become part of each school’s culture. Continuing as a seven-town RSU 12 will preserve the efficiencies and the trajectory of success that our students are experiencing.
Looking to the Future
The RSU 12 Board of Directors looks forward to continuing to work closely with the seven member towns to provide the best education possible for all RSU 12 students. THE RSU 12 BOARD OF DIRECTORS ENCOURAGES ALL TOWNS TO SET UP LOCAL SCHOOL COMMITTEES IN ORDER TO ADVISE THE RSU 12 BOARD OF DIRECTORS ON HOW TO BEST SERVE THE NEEDS OF THEIR STUDENTS AND COMMUNITY. The RSU 12 Board of Directors will continue to communicate to community members to ensure that all are fully aware of the exciting progress being made by RSU 12 in student achievement, facility upgrades, and value to the taxpayer. We affirm our commitment to continuous improvement.