From the Superintendent
As the final week approaches until the November 8 election, which includes a referendum for a new primary school, here are some of the most frequently asked questions (and our responses) that have come up recently. If you are still undecided, I hope that this information is helpful.
Q: Why does MSAD #51 need another school? Didn’t the district close two schools within the last ten years?
A: In 2009 an enrollment study projected a significant decrease in MSAD #51 enrollment. In 2010 and 2014 voters agreed to close Drowne Road School and North Yarmouth Memorial School, respectively. The North Yarmouth Memorial School was also in desperate need of expensive and extensive renovations in order for it to remain habitable. Based on projected enrollment and cost to renovate, the decision was made to consolidate the elementary schools and release the building and the land. This enrollment decrease, though, never came close to the 2009 projection. In 2016, 2019, and 2022, updated enrollment studies were completed which showed enrollment increasing over the next fifteen years in the district.
Q: Why do we need to build a new school now?
A: The overcrowding of our elementary school grades needs to be addressed. There are now 200 students at MIW and 100 students at GMS learning outside of the main building on a daily basis. The longer we postpone construction, the more funds have to be budgeted to pay for portable classroom trailers, and the more exposure we have to inflation, mounting construction prices, and increasing interest rates. Without a new school building, the district will need to continue adding modular classrooms to the grounds in playground areas, which are already severely cramped. We simply cannot afford to wait any longer.
Q: Is this a plan for the long-term? Are we going to have this problem again in 10 years?
A: By building a fourth district facility MSAD #51 will address current needs and the projected student enrollment increases. A fourth school will enable additional flexibility, and will result in opening space throughout the district’s facilities. The enrollment specialists who completed our 2016, 2019, and 2022 reports have repeatedly referred to MSAD 51 as a 4-facility district for the long-term. Any less is not enough to handle and manage the ebb and flow of the student population over the years.
Q: How could a school that accommodates only four grades possibly cost over $70 million? Surely there are luxuries that could be taken out!
A: Yes it is a large price tag, but the percentage of non-essential features is minimal. The proposed project includes investing in high efficiency energy resources, which will ultimately save in operating costs, and are quite simply the responsible way to build a 21st century school. If we are going to build this, we are going to get it right the first time, so that it can serve our students for many decades. Similarly, a strong security system is no longer a luxury that schools can omit. Finally, there are many infrastructure costs associated with the project, including running expensive utility lines to the site and a long access road that add to the overall costs.
Q: My kids won't benefit from this new school because they will have aged out by the time it's open. Why should I vote for it?
A: When a school is built responsibly, it benefits the entire community. Besides the fact that it will create open recreational space for all of us to enjoy, as well as being a net-zero building that will help to mitigate climate change, this new school will allow us to maintain the excellent education our district has worked so hard to provide. Instead of your tax dollars going to rent expensive, energy-inefficient, space-filling portables, they can go towards owning a school that will last for generations. The value of your home will increase as does the value of our school system, which increases your equity and therefore your overall net worth.
Notices from the Office of the Superintendent
Support Greely Students - Share Your Knowledge!
The multiple pathways program at Greely High School aims to offer meaningful opportunities for high school students to learn from professionals in every field. The communities of Cumberland and North Yarmouth are filled with people doing all sorts of wonderful types of work, many of whom would surely be willing to take on interns, or host a shadow day, or give a presentation - but we need to know who those people are! If you would potentially be interested in working with students in some capacity through your profession (or serious hobby), please contact Andrew Fersch, Pathways Coordinator, at [email protected]. Thanks so much!
MSAD #51 Board of Directors Information
Effective August 22, unless otherwise noted, all meetings will take place at 6:00 pm in the Gyger Room at Greely High School. For those of you unfamiliar with that room, the Gyger Room is where the Board met pre-COVID and can be accessed from the GHS parking lot (the side without the electronic sign).
November 7 - Regular Meeting
Our Community Partners are strong supporters of various areas of the school. Without them, our students would not have many of the wonderful opportunities and experiences that they receive.
Greely PTO Parent Power Appeal
Foundation 51 Trunk or Treat - October 29
Who is ready for a Ghoul Time? Foundation 51 is! Come join us this Saturday (October 29) evening for Trunk or Treat at NYCC from 5pm-9pm.
Community Notices are not affiliated with MSAD #51. Please contact the organization directly with any questions. For a full listing of Community Notices, please click HERE.
If you would like something included in our weekly newsletter, please send a brief write up with title along with a JPEG or PNG image of your flyer (if applicable) to Fran Prentice for approval. The deadline each week is Sunday. Any requests received after Sunday will be reviewed for possible submission in the following week's newsletter. All approved submissions will be posted on the district's website.
Not all items in this email are MSAD #51 sponsored programs. If you need more information, please contact the group or organization that is sponsoring the event.
357 Tuttle Road, PO Box 6A, Cumberland, ME 04021
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