Opinion: Enhance education at Mt. Abe by backing renovation bond

The tax dollars we shell out every year — federal, state and local — underwrite a wide array of services. We pay for parks and highways, Social Security for our elders and disability for those unable to work. We pay for the courts and prisons, for border patrol and for the most powerful military in the world.
The direct control we are able to exert over how our tax dollars are spent and what they are spent on is slight. Of course we can vote and write letters to our legislators both state and federal, but it is easy to get cynical about our ability as citizens to have an effect on government, the federal government in particular. But the closer to home our tax dollars are collected and spent, the more control we can exert over the direction we want our government to go.
On Nove. 4 we have an important choice we can make here in the five towns of the Addison Northeast Supervisory Union. For a small fraction of the money we send off to Washington and Montpelier, we can choose right here to invest in the health and vitality of our community by voting for the Mount Abe Renovation Bond. A vote for the bond is a vote for making our middle and high school a place that students, teachers and citizens can all be proud of. We are proud of our great towns and our excellent high school sports teams, of the rich vein of volunteerism and civic spirit that runs through our community, its high time we felt pride in the high school itself.
To make a case for the bond is not to diminish the important work done in the building by teachers, staff, coaches and administrators. The connections and the learning they foster with students of all backgrounds is really the key to education. But that learning does not take place in a vacuum. It is either enhanced or diminished by the spaces where it takes place.
Spend some time in the facility and you will plainly see that much of the learning that happens there takes place in spite of the building. Poor ventilation, lack of natural light and careworn finishes everywhere, not to mention spotty Internet connectivity, definitely make a difference in how well our kids and our neighbors kids do in school. Those kids deserve better from us.
Today’s Mount Abe students could be forgiven for getting the impression that our community currently has a low opinion of what happens at their high school. Some of these students and their families are voting with their feet. In this age of school choice, they are choosing to go to schools north, west and south of us that have had major renovations in the last 10-15 years. This net drain hurts our school. When a family chooses another district over ours because of a bad first impression, this puts a damper on home values in the five towns and the vitality of our shared downtown.
Please join me with an affirmative vote on Nov. 4. Let’s choose to put our tax dollars where they can have the greatest positive impact on our collective future.
Louis duPont

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