Opinion: Work remains to be done after encouraging vote for ACSU unity

On the night of the election, as town-by-town results trickled in through the wee hours, it became clear that a profound shift was under way. We have all heard so much this cycle about changing political paradigms, but no one had predicted the way in which this vote would unfold.
In town after town on Town Meeting Day, friends, neighbors, parents and grandparents, working folk and retirees, people from all corners of our community came to the polls and overwhelmingly approved a landmark change in the governance of our schools. More than that, in every town, the margins were much larger than anyone had anticipated.
As those of us who have been involved in this work for some time watched (in honest surprise) every community spoke clearly and strongly in favor of something new in our educational system: the opportunity of shared effort. In a time when an “us versus them” story has invaded our national political conversation, our little corner of Vermont did something else, something extraordinary. We voted to work together.
And now, it’s time to take that opportunity by the reins and run with it.
In the coming weeks, there will be a first meeting of the newly formed Addison Central School District. At this meeting, you, the voters of the district, will elect the officers (clerk, moderator, treasurer, auditor) and the business of the district will formally get under way. The new unified district board, your board, will begin the work of preparing for the transition over the course of the next year. As this work begins, however, it is critical that we all remain focused on the reason we showed up and spoke so strongly in unison on Town Meeting Day: opportunity, and a commitment to making our schools the best they can be.
This work, these conversations that have been going on in every town about our hopes, fears, dreams and concerns for our schools are now only just beginning. To fully realize the opportunities that can flow from working together for our children, we will need everyone to commit to continuing to care, to show up, to speak and to listen.
From your many voices and the range of thoughts, opinions and ideas reflected in them, we will find the best path forward. There will be compromises along the way, and hard choices to be sure. We can also be sure, however, that the decisions we make will be better, and better reflect our shared goals, when we are all doing our part.
Come to meetings. Speak up. Write a letter to your local newspaper. Post on social media. Contact your board members and share your thoughts. There is a lot of work to do to turn this opportunity into a reality that we will all be proud of. I encourage everyone to join us in this work so that we can all look back with deep pride at what we have built, and call it great. I, for one, am ready to work for truly great schools. Are you ready?
Jason Duquette-Hoffman
ACSD Director-Elect

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