Letter to the editor: Shoreham letter to ACSD went unanswered
Editor’s note: On June 24, the Shoreham selectboard sent a letter to the directors of the Addison Central School District, that followed up on an Aug. 29, 2019, letter to the school board committee that would ultimately make recommendations that could result in closing Shoreham Elementary School. Here are the two letters:
24 June 2020
This is an open letter to the School Directors of the Addison Central School District.
At the end of August 2019, the selectboard of the town of Shoreham sent the enclosed letter to the Addison Central School District Facilities Master Plan Steering Committee. While the enrollment numbers for 2020-2021 are not readily available yet, Unified Pre-K enrollment for the town of Shoreham and historic patterns in the town suggest that the incoming 2020-21 kindergarten will be between 14 and 19 students. In short, the incoming kindergarten will continue to be larger than the outgoing rising 7th Grade class representatives from Shoreham. The selectboard believes that Shoreham Elementary School enrollment will continue to grow, and the school is in a strong position to serve our town for many years to come.
By voice vote on the floor at Town Meeting 2020 the voters of Shoreham unanimously approved two non-binding articles, one supporting a restructuring of election of school directors at large to a town by town election structure, the other supporting a requirement for voter approval to close a school in any given town in the Addison Central School District.
To date we have received neither acknowledgement nor response to either our letter of Aug. 29, 2019, or to the overwhelming support for the two warned articles at our Town Meeting on March 2, 2020.
The selectboard and the voters of Shoreham look forward to your considered response.
Stephen Goodrich, Loren Wood, Peter Lynch, Molly Francis and Eric Boire
29 August 2019
The Shoreham selectboard believes that Shoreham Elementary School has a future going forward. In recent years, there has been a steady increase in class sizes bucking the statewide trend in Vermont. The 2019-20 class sizes are:
Grade 6 – 9 students; Grade 5 – 6 students; Grade 4 – 12 students; Grade 3 – 12 students; Grade 2 – 12 students; Grade 1 – 19 students; kindergarten – 20 students
This follows the trend in property transfers in the town of Shoreham. Upon review of property sales, we see the following numbers of purchases that may have implications for future attendance at Shoreham Elementary School:
2016 – 8; 2017 – 13; 2018 – 15; 2019 – 20.
While these property sales figures are estimates based on a probable selection of all property transfers, the trend is clear. Shoreham’s aging population is selling property to younger people. This bodes well for our school.
The town of Shoreham has invested in upgrades to our school building during the last two decades and the school has access to high speed internet and is tied into town sewer.
All communities value their schools as community centers and a source of hope for the future. But we believe that there are compelling arguments that extend beyond emotional appeal for keeping Shoreham Elementary School open for many years to come.
Thank you for considering our perspective in your deliberations.
Stephen Goodrich, Loren Wood, Peter Lynch, Jim Ortuno and Molly Francis
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