by Autumn Herring
Schenck High School may be facing an uncertain future due to a shrinking tax base and an aging population. Education policy has been designed to deal with urban and suburban challenges. However, rural school districts, such as Schenck, are being overlooked. There is now more focus being placed on charter schools and private-school vouchers with the new administration in the White House.
For students in Schenck they have no other choice than to attend Schenck High. All the other school’s considered ‘good’ are too far away for these students to travel too. Superintendent Eric Steeves is worried that if they are forced to bus students away from Schenck they will be losing tuition money. The closest the next school district is from Schenck is over an hour away. “It depends on how it’s organized. . . . It may be up to their town to pay for that. And in this weather, it would be horrific.” Stevees states his concern during an interview.
More than half of Maine’s students attend rural schools as well as nearly 9 million of the 50 million public school students across the country. These rural schools are struggling to compete with private and charter schools because of limited housing, low pay and difficult working conditions. Rural schools in financially stable areas will remain successful. However, schools such as Schenck, held together by a poor local tax base and weak state support, will continue to struggle.