Letter to the editor: Bristol official urges ‘yes’ vote on ANeSU unification

I am currently a board member for Bristol Elementary School, Mount Abraham Union Middle/High School, the Mount Abe board representative to the Hannaford Career and Technical Education Center, and the ANESU Board, and Vice-Chair of the ANESU Act 46 Study Committee.
Speaking as an individual (and parent of three students, one at Mount Abe and two at Bristol), my vote is YES for the New Unified Supervisory District merger recommended by a supermajority of the ANESU Act 46 Study Committee and unanimously approved by the Vermont State Board of Education on Sept. 20, 2016.
I encourage you to also vote YES. Unifying into one supervisory district presents the best opportunity to enhance equity and quality in educational outcomes for all our students by:
• Having a single mission, vision and articulated continuous improvement plan across our elementary schools and middle/high school.
• Capitalizing on the forward-thinking ideas and positive energy felt throughout our supervisory union with the hire of our new superintendent.
• More efficient administration freeing up valuable time to focus on educational outcomes, including Act 77’s Flexible Pathways, and implementing, meeting and exceeding the State’s Education Quality Standards.
• Flexible use of resources across schools to allow broader and more equitable educational opportunities. • A single board tasked with ensuring all students receive similar preparation for Mount Abraham MS/HS.
• The ability to deploy staff as needed to address changing enrollment or specific needs.
• Greater equity in access to technology and pooled resources to support technology instruction.
• Using one single budget (that includes the central office budget) that allows for greater accountability, public input and direct approval by the taxpayers of the member towns.
• One single board establishing stronger structures for local input and more frequent community engagement.
• Merging under the terms and conditions we desire.
• Cost savings of streamlined governance of ~$140,000/year.
The State’s Act 46 Law Financial Incentives, including:
• Homestead property tax rate reductions during the first four years of operation ($.08/$.06/$.04/$.02).
• Existing Small Schools Grant (New Haven’s Beeman Elementary) transformed into Merger Support Grant.
• Continued eligibility for the 3.5 percent hold-harmless provision (New Haven’s Beeman Elementary).
• Transition grant of $150,000.
• Being exempt from mandatory reorganization by the Vermont State Board of Education in 2019.
I am looking forward to this exciting work of enhancing the equity and quality of the educational outcomes for all our students, while also strengthening community connections to local schools. I hope this information helps you to vote YES for unification, and then encourage others to do the same. We are better together. For me, YES, it truly is as simple as that.
Allison Sturtevant

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