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Letter to the editor: Fear of change a roadblock to supporting ANeSU unification

To the ANESU voters,
I am writing as a long time school board member and voter. I keep reading a lot of scare tactics about the changes that the consolidation of our supervisory union into a unified district that I wanted to speak to. First of all, Act 46 is a law. It is not an option. The committee that was appointed by the supervisory union board was instructed to develop a plan to comply with this new law.
The committee was comprised of board members, community members and administration, including the ex-secretary of education, Armando Vilaseca. And meetings were often attended by a consultant hired to help with the process.
The diligent and exhaustive work done by the committee ended up with a super majority vote to send the plan to the Agency of Education for approval so that a vote could happen during the presidential election vote so that the most voters possible will have a chance to vote on the plan. They even included the “dissenting view” document prepared by the three nay voters on the committee.
I did not serve on this committee because I had a clear prejudice before it would have met and wanted the process to be as without preconceived views as possible. I am confident that the committee considered every aspect of the plan in detail and worked through concerns and issues of each member of the committee.
The fear of change has been a roadblock to the necessary change in our education system for the entire 15-plus years I have served as a school board member. It bleeds over into virtually every decision made about education. From removing programs that are duplicated within our system, to teachers contracts, we have been frozen in place in so many ways. This change is supported by our educational leaders here in our supervisory union, and Mr. Vilaseca wrote an op-ed supporting the plan that has been approved by the Agency of Education.
To be clear, whether to do this at all is not a question. We are required by law to do it. The question for this vote is do we vote yes and enjoy the financial incentives offered by the state for doing this before the required date or do we drag our feet for fear of change and have the Agency of Education develop the plan for our five towns? I always feel that we should lead instead of get dragged kicking and screaming over the finish line.
Bonita Bedard
Starksboro

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