To the editor:
Tamworth asking the Conway School Board to investigate forming a cooperative school district is like walking into a gorilla's cage. The gorilla will surely set the rules and the Conway School Board is that gorilla!
Sending towns (and maybe the town of Conway) should first form their own study groups like Albany did last year to determine what is best for their students and taxpayers.
There is still time to do this. Otherwise, we could be stuck with a situation like the current 20-year contracts that have become far too expensive, have no governance other than the Conway School District, no educational goal parameters and no educational choices other than their public schools all with rapidly declining student populations.
The goal should be to have an independent, united sending town cooperative that could use their economic leverage to negotiate favorably with the Conway School Board and anyone else. After all, sending towns pay nearly half of the Conway school budget. Some towns like Madison and Freedom have their own schools with plenty of room to take other sending town grade level students. Fryeburg Academy could take on middle and high school students. There are plenty of lower-cost options today with arguably better academic educational results available. Let's embrace them.
One final point. Educational choice, including vouchers, should be a mandatory condition for any negotiations with the Conway School Board or anyone else. Public schools have become "old school" now. Parents are increasingly demanding to be able to determine how best to educate their kids, not school boards, governments, unions or ZIP codes.