Op/Ed

Letter to the editor: Invest in educators, not buildings

I write this letter regarding my thoughts on Addison Central School District facilities from a place of sincere respect and admiration for our entire ACSD community. I feel beyond lucky to raise my family here with all of you. I appreciate the steering committee and school board’s tireless work, along with everyone who has added their voices to such an incredibly important decision.
We are all biased by our own experiences. I would argue, however, that maintaining buildings shouldn’t be at the expense of providing an excellent educationa for all students in our district. I support the board’s move to an International Baccalaureate program, and I urge them to vote on a budget that supports the implementation.
Mary Hogan School has highly skilled teachers and staff who love and know their students. I notice the benefit of having a full time art and music department, and I recognize the importance of kids having a full time nurse and guidance counselors available. These are resources that I don’t want my kids to lose, and believe all kids in our district deserve.
Our tax base is declining, and therefore the amount of money we have to educate our kids is decreasing. Over the last several years we’ve been forced to cut, and consider cutting teachers, paraprofessionals and principals across the district because we didn’t have enough money in our budget to support them. This year is not different, as Mary Hogan is set to lose another classroom teacher and paraprofessional next year. It will be difficult to make these big changes, but I think it is harder for students, teachers, and administrators to deal with such drastic budget deficits year to year.
I support investing our money in teachers, the arts, special subject areas, health professionals, and counselors who can meet the needs and nurture all of our students throughout the District. Investing in these professionals, as opposed to buildings, can ensure that students learn today and have the skills and support to grow into healthy, thriving 21st-century adults.
Our situation in Vermont is not unique. Despite these challenging numbers, I think the ACSD can be an innovative leader and a lens for others to see what districts can be. I urge us all to look outside our towns and imagine the possibilities for our educational community when we adjust how resources are utilized.
Megg Del Giacco 
Middlebury

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