Camden-Rockport Middle School student and his simple solution for a new school

Posted:  Wednesday, March 15, 2017 - 11:30am
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Nearly two years ago, in February of 2015, Camden and Rockport voters turned down a plan to build an 82,000-square-foot new school for the middle school students of Camden and Rockport. With an aging middle school in Camden that also houses a portion of the district’s elementary students, which is failing and doesn’t meet current basic life and safety codes in many areas, according to a press release from the School Administration District 28’s central office, it continues to exhibit problems, such as  Monday’s fuel leak that canceled school for the entire student body. 

Seventh-grader Addison Castellano got picked up by his mother, came home, brewed himself a cup of coffee and got to thinking about the possibilities of renovating or building a new school.

His mother, Nikki Castellano, is on the committee of the the Camden-Rockport Middle School Building Vision Committee and works as a secretary in the superintendent’s office. The 12-year-old and his mother have had many discussions about the fate of the school, so he sat down and penned a Letter to the Editor that he forwarded to PenBayPilot.com:

Today at 7:50 a.m., in C-RMS, they announced that there was a fuel leak in the seventh- and eighth-grade wings. We were then told to wait for our parents to pick us up, or until the buses could finish dropping off the elementary school students. I luckily got a ride home by my mom, and decided to write this letter.

I have done some math about how we could save enough money to build the new middle school. When I got home I had a cup of coffee (a little weird for a 12-year-old) and that gave me a thought. How much money would you save if you wouldn't go every morning and buy a cup of coffee? So here's the math.

If you get a cup a coffee every morning, 365 days a year, which costs just $1.50, you would save about $547.70. For me, a seventh-grader, that's a lot of money. My mom says that the  [added property] tax in Camden and Rockport will be less than $100 per every $100,000 your house is worth per year. This is just one example of how you could pay for a new school.

Now looking at the information that I've been given, you have a choice.

Either keep your daily coffee or ensure the safety of the middle school students of this community. As one of those students I hope you make the right choice. And other students out there that are willing to take the time and sit down and write, I hope you are willing to do so.

Addison said most of the students see issues in the building that the rest of the public doesn’t often see.  “

“Everyone in my class thinks the school is really old and a lot of things should be fixed,” he said. “There are cracks in the wall, some of them covered in duct tape. The temperatures change all of the time. You have to wear a coat in one classroom and a t-shirt in another. Everyone says that Camden is the best place to have your kids in school, but the middle school isn’t very good compared to the elementary school and the high school.”

Still, he understands that a vote either way entails a tax hike for every property tax-paying family in Camden and Rockport.

“Saving for it can be something simple. If you skip going out to dinner for one month, that’s about $100-$200 saved right there,” he said.

A new vote is coming up to either renovate the school for $17 million or build it brand new for $26 million. Either vote will come with a tax burden, something, Addison, like his mother, said he is ready to shoulder.

“I drink coffee every day,” he said. “And I thought of all of the money you could save for each household. If you did something simple like make coffee at home instead of buying it, I did the math and you could put that money into a savings account for the taxes.”

His mother said, “I’m pretty sure the biggest takeaway from Addison’s letter to the editor is ‘Why do you let your 12-year-old drink coffee?’” she said with a smile.

For more information about Camden-Rockport Middle School developments visit: crmsmiddlematters.info


Kay Stephens can be reached at news@penbaypilot.com