Letter to the editor: ACSD charter change backed
Dear Addison Central School District Community,
If you’re a registered voter in one of our towns, you might have been approached, sometime in the last few weeks, to sign two petitions. For those of you haven’t been approached yet, I wanted to express some things to help with the understanding of those amendment petitions. First, here they are as written:
The undersigned registered voters of the school district hereby petition the Addison Central School District Board to warn the following article for a District election to be held in the seven District towns (Bridport, Cornwall, Middlebury, Ripton, Salisbury, Shoreham, Weybridge) no later than Town Meeting Day 2020.
Shall the Board of the Addison Central School District be directed to amend the Charter Articles of Agreement, which was approved by District voters March 1, 2016, as follows:
Article 8: “Directors shall be elected by the voters of all forming towns of the district” shall be amended to read: Each director shall be elected by the voters of the District town in which the director lives.
Article 14. This sentence shall be added: No District elementary school shall be closed unless a majority of the registered voters at a duly warned special meeting of the town in which the school is located vote to close the school.
To summarize, Article 8 says that each town may separately elect their resident to serve on the consolidated board, and Article 14 says that any school in our district cannot be closed without closure first being brought to its town to vote on.
Please know that signing these does not mean you are taking a stand one way or another. These petitions are simply to get these articles on the ballot for Town Meeting Day 2020.
Moreover, it’s important to remember that the people responsible for writing and encouraging these amendments to our school district charter care deeply about the education, wellbeing, and future of all the students in our district — not just one town in particular. These changes ensure that everyone in every town has a voice.
Back in 2016, our transition board worked hard to write the articles of agreement. Since we of ACSD were one of a few districts in the state to vote on an accelerated merger, we didn’t have time to learn from our neighbors nor closely examine how each agreement article would affect us. When we voted for consolidation, we did not understand that closing the small-town schools would be the focus and priority of the new board. Now that we understand the new context in which consolidation is taking place, we feel the need to bring more democracy into the process. Our belief is that we can work together, respect our differences, and support our collective needs. We do this by ensuring no town nor voter remains disenfranchised and everyone who wants to participate — can. Let’s model for other districts and our children the right way forward.
Thank you for reading and for considering signing in support of our democratic right. Here are two ways to sign: visit saveourschoolsvt.com to download the petition (one form includes both amendment articles), sign, and mail to the return address. You can also contact us through the website, and we can arrange to get the petitions to you a different way.
For more information visit: saveourschoolsvt.com.
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