Saturday, May 14, 2011

KKKK-1: “Selling” Brunswick

(Note: this is an attempt to get things back on track in the midst of Blogger’s continued struggle.  This post had been published earlier and then disappeared.)

A well known and very successful real estate broker in Brunswick has recently weighed in on school budget discussions in a very public way.  Her premise is that keeping school budgets growing is vital to the overall success of our town, because ‘excellent schools’ are the main reason why people come to Brunswick.

You know real estate sales agents; they’re the folks who never saw a property that wasn’t ‘the fulfillment of all your dreams.’  If you’ve ever read the ads they create, you know they use language like this:

- Great possibilities for the creative do-it-yourselfer…

- Sparkling floors, period trim, light streaming in…

- Floor to ceiling walls, wall to wall floors and ceilings, and plenty of options to expand…

- See through windows, hard to find period details, and rare and unique fixtures…

- Cozy, charming, and awaiting your personal touches…

- Rustic, country style kitchen will bring your family and friends ‘closer together’ and help you rediscover traditional food preparation methods….

- A blank palette for your landscaping artistry…

- Sure to delight…

- Close to everything…

Just imagine if we had had someone like this involved in marketing the old High School for redevelopment as follows:

- One of a kind, historic, and much loved structure…

- Seemingly infinite possibilities for the creative visionary…

- An eclectic mix of architectural paradigms…

- Huge classic windows, high ceilings, spacious hallways, original wood flooring, and other touches of a bygone era…

- Stately anchor of an established in town neighborhood…

- Ample grounds for endless expansion possibilities…

- Small town New England gem of the finest sort….

- Ready to accommodate a theater room beyond your dreams…

- Exercise space you could only dream about…

- Just waiting for you to bring it to its full potential…

- Saving it from extinction will prevent the construction of an architectural nightmare in its place…..

Oh, well; we can dream, can’t we?

At any rate, this broker

said schools are the primary reason families choose Brunswick. She said education "is the key to the economic vitality of this community," and without excellent schools, she believes business development efforts downtown and at Brunswick Landing would suffer.

To begin with, whatever our schools are, they have not led to ‘economic vitality of this community.’  A survey of Cooks Corner, Pleasant Street, and Maine Street properties shows a distressing lack of economic vitality, and that is true of surrounding regions and Maine overall.  Various national rankings show that Maine overall is at a huge disadvantage in this regard, and local schools have little to do with it.

Next, calling Brunswick Schools ‘excellent’ assumes facts not in evidence.  As reported by a school board member on Monday night, Brunswick High ‘is on the failing schools list.’  And publicized testing results show nothing that would cause anyone to rate our schools as certifiably superior to any other community.

The same person recently wrote the following:

For the 36 years that I have been a real estate broker in the Brunswick market area, the No. 1 reason people have cited for moving to Brunswick has been the excellent schools.


Once again, ‘excellent schools’ assumes facts not in evidence.  The School Department scrupulously avoids evaluating and rating the teacher corps.  They similarly argue that ‘standardized testing’ is not a valid way of evaluating staff and the schools.  And then there’s that ‘failing school’ rating of the High School.  And regardless of anything else, whatever testing results have been publicized are, in a word, ‘undistinguished.’

So we must ask how people conclude that Brunswick has ‘excellent schools’ as a discriminator for moving here.  Since there is no objective and standardized data upon which to reach that conclusion, we assume that those who do so base it on ‘word of mouth’, if not real estate ads.

We submit that the likelihood of finding a town resident who will declare they send their children to mediocre or even failing schools is about the same as the likelihood of finding a real estate agent who will say that a listing is a clunker, and that the town has economic problems that are not being confronted with any conviction and foresight.

But that’s just us.  We favor facts over emotion, as unpopular and ‘inconvenient’ as such a perspective might be.

Especially in the town of Perfect.

3 comments:

  1. "MOTHBALLING" JORDAN ACRES SCHOOL SOUNDS LIKE A SHELL GAME TO ME SIMILAR TO THAT USED WITH THE OLD HIGH SCHOOL TO GET A NEW SCHOOL. TWO YEARS FROM NOW THE CLAIM WILL BE THAT THIS SCHOOL, BEYOND OUR CONTROL, IS NO LONGER SAFE AND AND SHOULD BE CONDEMNED! THIS BROKER WILL BE IN THE FOREFRONT OF THOSE WHO WILL APPLAUD A "NEW" LEARNING ENVIRONMENT. WITHOUT FAIL.

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  2. Hard to argue with common sense, my friend, unless you're in Government, I suppose.

    An acquaintance and I were musing today about using the JA facility for the new Police Station. It's within a few blocks of the current one, centrally located, and will in all likelihood not be needed as a school, given the demographic winter we find ourselves in.

    Regardless of what those who believe Brunswick is the next mecca of growth might say.

    Interesting; the powers to be don't want Plum Creek to build one camp or one hotel room, but they're convinced Brunswick should have a waterpark, a new hotel that does 50,000 room nights per year, and major 'repopulation' along McKeen Street.

    Make up your mind, folks!

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  3. When seemingly intelligent adults get up in a public meeting and plead for an increae in taxes one can only conclude that your definition of intelligent is grossly overstated.

    I was born at the beginning of the Roosevelt administration and it utterly amazes me that we have been able to go so far down in less than 80 years.

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