Letters to the Editor: One-time fix best for Mount Abe

Mt. Abraham Union Middle and High School is a vibrant community of both practical and innovative learning. It is also a physical structure that is tired, impractical and expensive to repair piecemeal, and full of safety and health issues. As the principal of a school that used to be tired, expensive to fix, and unhealthy, I advocate for voting “Yes” with enthusiasm on the Nov. 2 bond vote to renovate Mt. Abe.
The Lincoln Community School had issues similar to those of Mt Abe for many years — poor air quality, accessibility problems, code and safety violations, and an inefficient heating system topped the list. Rotting siding, peeling floors, and a leaking roof characterized our school. We had teaching spaces in the basement and fewer rooms than we needed, resulting in daily scrambling for teaching space.
For years, educators’ time was siphoned off in reaction to these issues, whether it was through illness due to air quality, the principal chasing temporary solutions to a broken heating system, or teaching in an inadequate place. When educators cannot focus on teaching and learning, our children’s education is compromised. 
In Lincoln, we took some years to address safety and code issues, and then invest in a bond to make the larger improvements that were needed. We would have been financially way better off to do the project in one phase sooner rather than later. We have an opportunity before us to do it better with Mt. Abe — all at once and now. 
We’re six years past the completion of our renovation.  Our building is safe, warm, and beautiful. While we did not add space, the renovation did recreate spaces into more useable and flexible ones. Not a day goes by that I am not deeply grateful for the contribution and commitment to children and education demonstrated by our town.  And every day I am mindful of how very little time I spend on addressing building-related issues. Instead, I and other educators focus on teaching and nurturing children.
Children from Bristol, Lincoln, Monkton, New Haven, and Starksboro attend Mt. Abe. This is the time to uplift our community school where our 12-18 year-olds spend six years of their lives. Let’s invest wisely by voting on Thursday, Nov. 2 in favor of the Mt. Abe renovation.
Tory Riley
Lincoln Community School principal

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