To the Editor:
This spring I am running for the Trenton Board of Selectmen. It would be my great honor to serve our town in this office.
As we all know, Trenton and our local communities now face significant challenges; and we will face larger ones in the future. This is not unique to Trenton, or Maine. Our issues are a bellwether of those currently or soon to be affecting communities across the nation.
Trenton is working through significant issues. Balancing our limited resources and assuring each public dollar spent secures the greatest return on the investment is important. To this idea, there are few more impactful investments than strengthening the children and young families who will build and uphold our future. For too long, Maine turned away funding and dismantled the infrastructure that would have prevented or helped mitigate the problems we face today. In the face of significant issues including heath, education, our threatened natural and environmental resources and our declining population, we must acknowledge our problems, and invest in sensible solutions.
I urge every Trenton resident to vote on May 20 for our town officials and to support Trenton’s school budget and preschool budget at the May 21 Town Meeting. This will mean an increase of taxes today. And it will be the most important decision we can make to decrease future costs.
High quality education in the early years diverts children from costly behavioral and special needs intervention. High quality early education increases graduation rates, and decreases an individual’s likelihood to be arrested for a crime later. In his 2018 information brief “We Are the Ones You Pay Later,” Penobscot County Sherriff Troy Morton wrote “If we want less crime in our state, we should invest upfront in early learning opportunities, rather than paying the high cost of school failure.”
With consistently high achievement of our students, and a strong standing in statewide assessment at all levels, Trenton will remain strong if we support our teachers, families, and children. And while there are costs rising nationwide we cannot control, there are solutions for Trenton that can be found locally. We must support the work of our local school board and superintendent in finding efficiencies of cost, specifically in areas that allow us to retain our local school while benefitting from the efficiencies and quality of the AOS structure. As individuals, we can support the Mount Desert Island Regional School System communities in adopting common sense cost savings such as coordinated transportation, food and maintenance purchasing and special needs intervention.
In Maine, we are uniquely situated to be leaders in solving some of the very problems that threaten the existence of the towns and people and we love. We have deep traditions in community participation and governance. Even when we don’t agree on all topics, we express neighborliness and common respect. Now more than ever, this engagement is critical. Get informed, and please vote. We need all hands on deck to thread the needle on the right solutions that will set Maine on the path to success.