To the Editor:
This letter is written in response to the article in last week’s Mount Desert Islander about the “backlog” of construction at the high school and the MDI High School Board’s issues with the Board of Trustees. As a long time member of the latter, representing Southwest Harbor, I can understand the frustration felt by the School Board. That said, I believe that the majority of trustees are doing everything they can to maintain and improve the facility in their care.
It is true that the lack of a quorum at trustees meetings is a problem. However, it’s not one that should be blamed on the current trustees. When vacancies on the board are not filled by those responsible, there is little the trustees can do.
For the Islander to state that a “backlog” of projects exists is a bit disingenuous. There has been, and always will be, renovation and construction work to be done at the high school. The trustees have a capital improvement plan in place, and we schedule projects for when we can pay for them without major tax increases or issuing bonds.
There is one other point that needs clarification. The trustees are local citizens who volunteer to manage the maintenance and improvement of the high school. As a result, we have to rely on information from others when planning renovation or construction projects. Unfortunately, that information isn’t always accurate or complete.
For example, at our last meeting, we were surprised to learn that the estimated cost we had been given was way too low, and the bids were significantly higher than expected. Because of that, we could not have gone ahead with the renovation of the academic wing of the school even if we’d had a quorum.