As a recent Freeport High School graduate, I would like to refute the assertion that Freeport High School students like the RSU, or have benefitted from the consolidation. In my experience, the merger brought down the quality of education. Things have not improved, and most students would agree that the RSU model has not benefitted anyone, and only watered down our education.
Let me start off by saying I enjoyed my high school career. However, when I was a student at Freeport High School space was already a problem. The RSU consolidation has created many problems for Freeport High School and its students from all towns. Currently, there are 515 students at Freeport High School. That is an outrageous amount of students for the size of the building. There is a claim that FHS can hold 530 kids and that number is greatly exaggerated. In the previous year, the enrollment number forced teachers to travel between classrooms without having their own classroom to teach in. The classes were substantially larger and hallways and the cafeteria were extremely overcrowded. There is no way the school can hold this many students and function at its highest potential.
The most important thing is to know the facts of the RSU 5 withdrawal. Being uneducated on the separation makes the problem worse. The worries and anxieties of students losing friends and fellow sports players is absurd. Freeport’s withdrawal committee has agreed to grandfather seven years’ worth of students from Pownal and Durham. The state of Maine only requires one year of grandfathering. The seven years allows for a smoother transition for everyone and the students who are enrolled from sixth grade to 12th grade will not be affected. Therefore, this argument is irrelevant based on the terms that have been set.
The RSU has not improved things; in fact, they were better prior to the consolidation. I say this as an observer having first hand experience both before and after the consolidation. The issues of space were few and far between during my freshman and sophomore year. Within one year of the RSU consolidation I saw an increase of the problems caused by the influx of students. This affects the education of the students more than most of the parents realize. Allowing it to increase further will only hinder the educational experience the students receive.
One point that I would like to emphasize is the fact that this is not a movement against Durham and Pownal residents, nor is it a movement by a small group of people that wanted the sports complex passed. This is about the administrative structure of the RSU not working for anyone in any of the three towns. Freeport residents deserve a say in whether or not the RSU 5 remains or dissolves. The people have the right to vote for a reason. Let them vote.
Brianna Roy, class of 2011
Jordan Roy, class of 2013