Letter to the editor: Deeper research required as ACSD studies buildings

An open letter to the ACSD Administration, Board, and Steering Committee:
Thank you for your thoughtfulness in planning, preparing, and presenting the April 17 community dialogue. Though I planned to attend, my son fell ill, and I stayed home to care for him. I deeply appreciate the link to the video and the attached documents you emailed me.
I love our town’s relationship with the Weybridge Elementary School. I moved here specifically for this school. My son started kindergarten there and is now in fourth grade, and my daughter was a sixth grader here — she had a wonderfully rich academic and social experience, and made her best friend here.
Looking at the school population forecast, I see the issues. But I wonder about the assumptions going into the enrollment projections. I’d like to know what they are based on. As more and more jobs become internet-based, and more and more higher education is conducted online, will the enrollment projections hold? Who’s to say more young families won’t seek out the beauties and wonders available here?
Furthermore, I believe we need to look more broadly than we have already at elementary and secondary education and what it means. Though there is an openness to change at the physical level, I don’t see it connected to what primary and secondary education means today and what it will mean ten, twenty, thirty years down the line. There’s a status quo assumed in the planning: how do we create greater equity and save money based on what primary and secondary education has meant; but how does this relate to what it means now and what it will mean in the future?
Also, the value of a school in a small town is one that can’t be weighed in dollars. The soul goes out of a town when the school closes, as Wendell Berry’s novel “Jayber Crow” describes.
Before we move ahead with plans for buildings, I’d like to see us do deeper work as a district, as a community, and in each of our towns on these matters.
John-Eric Colley Robinson

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