VUHS budget should be OK’d

I write this letter to urge every voter in the Addison Northwest Supervisory Union district to strongly consider voting YES for the VUHS budget. Why do you ask? It is time for each of us to send a message to the students who attend the middle and high schools that we not only support them, we want them to continue to receive a quality education that is not compromised academically. We will not sit by and witness the elimination of sports teams and extracurricular activities if this next vote is unsuccessful. What we do want is each student to be successful beyond high school as well as provide them the tools needed to compete in a much bigger world, whether it be college, work, or joining the military.
We need to send a message to the teachers and staff in the middle and high schools that we are grateful for their hard work each and every day as they teach, mentor and encourage our students that attend VUHS. Our VUHS teachers earn considerably less income than their counterparts in Chittenden County and in other parts of Vermont. We are getting more than our money’s worth. We have lost the equivalent of just over 11 teachers/staff (FTE’s) over the past two years. VUHS cannot bear much more without seriously comprising the education the teachers deliver to each and every student each and every day.
We need to send a message to the administration, school board and supervisory union that we recognize they have worked hard to deliver a budget that reduces some of our tax burden but in the same breath also seeks to preserve academic programming and extracurricular activities that current and past VUHS graduates have been offered. I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge it has been a difficult year with the financial burdens our district has faced due to the negligence of past administrators/staff that no longer work for our district. What I can say is that the current administration, school board and supervisory union staff have spent this past school year diligently working toward righting the ship so to speak. They have completed all audits, implemented a spending freeze in 2015, and hired a new business manager and treasurer. We have a new principal and superintendent that are committed to the future of VUHS and have spent this past year working tirelessly toward the future success of our school.
It is true, our taxes keep going up and up and it is getting harder and harder to swallow. We cannot, however, keep pointing the finger at our schools. It is time to take that fight to the Statehouse. We cannot let this fight demoralize our teachers, polarize our communities and make it a “them” or “us” issue. We need to be a supportive and active community with an awesome school.
If our school community is going to thrive and if we want to attract people to move into our school district (which benefits us all) we must have a vibrant school that offers an array of educational programs/opportunities. A yes vote is an investment in our community and will ensure our tax base will not drop as we strive to attract families and businesses to move into our towns. We are in competition with our neighboring Chittenden County schools and already I have heard of several families in our school district who are choosing not to send their students to VUHS next year. It saddens and concerns me to think this is the path we are heading down, not passing our school budget and sending a message to the outside world that we live in a community that does not support its students, teachers and staff and the future of our school.
If you have questions or concerns attend the Budget Information Meeting on Monday, June 8, at 6 p.m. in the VUHS library. Get the facts about what has been accomplished, what has been cut from the budget, and what is at stake if this next budget does not pass.
The senior class will be graduating on June 12. Let’s send them off with a YES vote and positive message that we have supported their education at VUHS these past 6 years, that we are also willing to support the education of the current students at VUHS, as well as the incoming seventh-graders, due to graduate in 2022.
Kristina MacKulin
Community Member and Parent of a graduating VUHS Senior

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