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ID-4 board right in wanting to keep annual meeting

I saw the editorial about potentially changing the ID-4 budget process. I am glad that petitioners are looking to raise awareness of our local school budget, such a great topic.! I wish to share other thoughts that come to mind since they were not covered by the paper.
I attended the last ID-4 meeting and witnessed a very thoughtful board wrestling with a complicated question. They have done their homework on their current charter and certainly welcome more participation in their budget voting and process.
I agree with board members that it would be a shame to lose the town meeting-like atmosphere of their annual meeting in April. I love our Fire District No. 1 annual meetings here in East Middlebury (in January) even though attendance fluctuates depending on issues.
As a selectboard member, I would not want to see the town of Middlebury drop our town meeting and go to an all-Australian ballot vote for the reasons Angelo states. I value being able to see and hear people ask questions and get them answered fully at our town meeting.
Sure, it can be hard to speak up in meetings; I am quite shy myself. But I carefully guard the right for someone to speak up, whether they decide to say anything or not. More importantly, the possibility of modifying an article on the floor is a very powerful right and it would be a shame for us to lose that ability with a new ID-4 process.
If the main reason to ask ID-4 to change their charter is to solicit more participation, then Middlebury could accomplish that goal while letting the April annual meeting remain.
The Addison Independent could easily rally interest with a timely article or editorial every year. I attended the ID-4 annual meeting last year and I will encourage my selectboard colleagues to join me again this year. Other community leaders could show the same interest and support among their boards and committees.
ID-4 Chairwoman Ruth Hardy has been invited by the selectboard to give a brief presentation at Middlebury’s town meeting. This is an excellent way to inform the public before an April meeting and get us all motivated.
One ID-4 board member jokingly suggested that the best way to get more people in the seats is to have a conflict. I laughed — but it’s true: Nothing seems to motivate us more than trying to get our own ideas out there.
I’m sure there will be a lively discussion on the floor at the ID-4 annual meeting this year. The ID-4 board is carefully weighing what options work best for both their board and Mary Hogan School. It is my pleasure to offer my support to them, regardless of what is decided.
Susan Shashok
Middlebury

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