Op/Ed

Letter to the editor: ACSD must to more analysis

$17 million. That’s a big number. A number of this magnitude deserves extensive review and analysis. Certainly it warrants second opinions and further investigation. I believe that’s what the ACSD board was on their way to doing when the TruexCullins Elementary School report came in, along with looking at the other legs of the stool and making decisions on the future of education in our community. 
You know what happened next. We’re in the midst of a worldwide pandemic and there is mounting pressure to make cuts and push through closures in anticipation of the education funding shortfall in the coming years. These are changes that will forever shape the landscape of what learning looks like in Addison Central. All of this on the heels of years of significant change in the district (Act 46 consolidation, the pursuit of the International Baccalaureate program, moving 6th grade to the middle school).
The financial situation around COVID-19 and well, pretty much everything, continues to change rapidly. From May to June, the projected education funding shortfall for FY21 went from over $160 million to closer to $100 million. A huge number either way, but that much change in one month highlights that our focus needs to stay on getting through the pandemic. It is essential that we exercise due diligence in analyzing the TruexCullins report. I believe that we’ll find that the reality is a lot less grim and the price tag for necessary repairs, maintenance, and improvements will be considerably less than the report concludes. 
I also recommend everyone read “Out of the Loop” a study on rural schools by the Center for Public Education as a prerequisite to assessing the impact of closing schools. It is essential that the conversation with the community continues in a meaningful way not riddled by technological barriers and mishaps in order to move forward in a way that best serves our students and our communities.
Tanya Scuteri
Shoreham

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