To the editor:
I am writing as a longtime Alna resident to ask you, the people of the other towns in RSU #12, to approve the Alna Amendment when you vote on June 12. It will be on its own ballot.
After extensive analysis, the RSU board determined that this amendment will not affect any other RSU towns financially, or in any other way.
The amendment will end Alna’s current practice of taxpayer-funded private K-8 school tuition for children who become Alna residents after June 30.
Alna will, however, continue to pay private K-8 tuition for all children living in Alna as of June 30, for as long as they live here. This change harms no current Alna resident.
In addition, all current and future Alna students will have taxpayer-funded K-8 public school choice and public or private high school choice.
The townspeople of Alna voted overwhelmingly in March to end subsidy of private schools with public, taxpayer money. This policy, which we never chose, has made us a magnet for families who move to Alna just to access private school subsidy, because we are one of only two towns in Maine that have this benefit. As a result, we have the highest taxes in the RSU and in Lincoln County, and more children per capita than any other RSU town. Between 2013 and 2017, 33 children moved to Alna. Thirty of those children (91 percent) enrolled in private schools. Most of the children of our long-term families attend public schools.
We are a small residential town with no commercial tax base. We cannot afford to continue this policy. In addition, about half-a-million Alna dollars are now diverted from public to private education every year.
Please support Alna’s vote. Vote YES on the Alna Amendment.