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Opinion: ACSU unification offers students best chance to thrive

On Town Meeting Day, Addison Central Supervisory Union voters will be asked to make an important decision for our communities. I hope they will join me in supporting the establishment of a unified school district, which will give all of our schools and all of our students a greater chance to innovate, develop and thrive.
The details of the proposed unified school district can be found at the acsu.org website, and anyone who hasn’t yet read the Charter Committee report should do so. What they will find is a carefully crafted proposal that will clarify an antiquated and confusing governance structure. They will also find detailed explanations of board operations, the tax incentives for acting now, and other important provisions.
While details like tax benefits, board representation and other provisions are hugely important, the essential question to ask in my mind is: Would the proposed charter deliver an improved education for our students? The answer is clearly yes. A unified board would allow our schools to more easily share resources, give our educators and education leaders more flexibility in finding ways to deliver meaningful learning experiences for students, and a clearer, more defined feedback loop for celebrating successes and finding areas where we must improve.
A unified board does not mean that all of our schools and all of our classrooms would look and feel exactly the same way. Unified governance would ensure that all of our schools and all of our educators are working toward the same goal — though all in different ways. The challenges that face our schools are many, and none of them will remedy themselves in the foreseeable future. Schools and classes with fewer students, gaps in achievement and aspiration, and the demands of providing a safe learning environment for all of our students are but a few of the many issues that we must address.
District unification will allow our communities to confront these problems head on, and to provide life-changing educational experiences for all of our students. Please vote yes for district unification on Town Meeting Day.
Disclosure: In accordance with UD-3 policy, I am required to disclose that, while I sit on the UD-3 board (representing Middlebury Union middle and high schools), these thoughts are my own and I do not speak for the board.
JP Rees
Middlebury

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