(Editor’s note: the following is a letter from four members of the Whitefield Board of Selectmen – Charlene Donahue, Tony Marple, Frank Ober, and Lester Shaeffer – to RSU 12 Superintendent Howard Tuttle and the RSU 12 Board of Directors. The Lincoln County News is reprinting it at the board’s request.)
On March 6, the Whitefield Select Board held a meeting which set aside an hour for an RSU 12 discussion, the first half-hour to discuss the RSU budget and the second half-hour to discuss the status of the Whitefield school, including the work of the School Improvement Project.
While the timing and nature of the meeting was discussed several days before the meeting with Superintendent Howie Tuttle, he chose not to attend, stating that his financial staff person was unavailable to discuss the budget. That was his third cancellation.
Joan Morin, chair of the Whitefield School Collaborative Problem-Solving Project, updated the board and attendees about the committee’s work, and there was some input from parents, at times uncomfortable, due to the lack of administrative presence other than the RSU 12 board chair, Jerry Nault.
The select board believes that the RSU has failed to provide the appropriate public and private venues for parents to discuss continuing issues at the school. Private meetings with parents are often canceled and a promised follow-up public meeting to the school forum last fall has not been set up. The lack of openness has increased tension in Whitefield.
In the oldest town in the oldest county in the oldest state in the nation, we must have a school that is attractive to young parents. A continually aging Whitefield will create social and economic challenges. We encourage a more open and community-based approach to solving problems at the Whitefield school which will help all parties and help bring us back together.