Letter to the editor: Bristol board thanks community, kids, parents, staff

The Bristol Elementary School Board would like to thank our community members for their continued support of our school and the ANESU district. We would also like to thank our awe inspiring students, our dedicated teachers, our collaborative administration and our fantastic custodians. This group of people makes Bristol Elementary School a great place for children to learn and grow as young students.
This past summer we welcomed a new Principal, Kevin Robinson, and a new Superintendent, Patrick Reen. Mr. Robinson comes to us with a wealth of educational experiences, works collaboratively with staff, has an open door policy and has prioritized spending time with children. You will often see Mr. Robinson standing outside the school doors, in all weather, welcoming the students each morning as they enter school for the day.
Mr. Reen has found his way back to his beginnings and comes to us with much energy, vision and cooperation. The demands of the district keep Mr. Reen busy but he still finds time to visit the individual schools to witness firsthand the great things happening throughout the district. During what free time he has left, he manages to coach many of our young athletes on a few different teams. These gentlemen have quickly assimilated into our school district, become great assets and are welcome additions.
During the past year, two of our board members and two community members served on the ANESU Act 46 Study Committee. The committee was charged with exploring potential governance structures in order to be compliant with the Act 46 legislation that was passed. The report generated by the committee was submitted to the State Agency of Education and unanimously approved. The proposal was put before the district voters on Nov. 8 and it passed in all five towns. The new district will have a 13 member board. Bristol will be represented by five seats on the board. The remaining four district towns will each have two seats on the board. The newly formed board will be operational on July 1, 2018 when the unified district begins.
The board has also spent time reviewing and evaluating policies and board behavior as it pertains to policy governance. It is anticipated this work will be ongoing as a matter of good board practice.
As a district, we have also expanded our collaboration with the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service to include training in Issues-Based Bargaining, an alternative to the traditional negotiations approach we have used in the past. This work included staff, administration and community members, all of which were critical to the progress made on these issues.
As we look forward we, like many other districts throughout the state, face declining student enrollment and increasing costs. These circumstances create fiscal challenges as we strive to achieve balance between a quality education and the responsible use of tax dollars. As board members we believe we have provided a thoughtful, responsible budget that holds spending down without causing an adverse effect on education. If you would like more information about our proposed budget or meeting calendars for ANESU board meetings, please visit (sites.google.com/site/besboard/).
We ask for your continued support on Town Meeting Day, Tuesday, March 7.
Elin Melchior (Chair, ANESU Board, ANESU Executive Committee, RBO Steering Committee, Act 46 Committee, Policy Governance Committee)
Chris Scrodin (Vice Chair, ANESU Board)
Krista Siringo (Clerk, ANESU Board, Bargaining Council)
Allison Sturtevant (ANESU Board, Mt. Abraham Board, Hannaford Career Center Board, Act 46 Committee, Bargaining Council)
Colleen Wedge (Bargaining Council)

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