Opinion: ANwSU officials see educational benefits in unification

Voters in the five towns covered by the Addison Northwest Supervisory Union have the opportunity to unify multiple school districts into a single school district. Together, we already operate Vergennes Union High School for grades 7-12. Panton, Waltham and Vergennes already operate a union elementary school. We know how to work together to educate our children. Voting to create a single district for all grades preK-12 is the right thing to do for students, taxpayers and our communities.
For the past decade, we have been losing students, which has created upward pressure on per-student cost and homestead tax rates. In response, our school boards have had to make cuts, which, over time, will create greater inequity between schools and undermine quality.
Joining together will strengthen our ability to make sure that all students receive similar preparation for middle and high school. We will be able to broaden educational experiences for our students, particularly in areas such as foreign languages, library media services, physical education and the arts. And we will be able to gain greater equity in access to technology. Over time, it will be much easier for a single district to allow greater flexibility for students to exercise choice among the public schools in the region.
Voting now to unify allows us all to get maximum benefit from available incentives and supports that are provided through Act 46.
Finally, voting now to unify allows us to come together on our own terms and to avoid state action with no benefits. Act 46 gives the State Board of Education in 2018 the authority to mandate redistricting for areas that have not acted.
We need to unify now in the interest of students, taxpayers and our communities. Please join us in voting yes for unification on Town Meeting Day.
Michele Kelly, Addison Central School Board Chair; William Clark, Ferrisburgh Central School Board Chair; Jason Fearon, Vergennes Union Elementary School Board Chair; Laurie Childers, Vergennes Union High School Board Chair; Jeffry Glassberg, Addison Northwest Supervisory Union Board Chair; George Gardner, FCS and VUHS Board Member; Neil Kamman, VUHS Board Vice Chair; Susan Rakowski, VUES Board Vice Chair; Kristine MacKulin, VUHS Board Member

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