Letter to the editor: Three towns stand to lose schools
The Mount Abraham Unified School District Superintendent’s plan for the future of schools in the five towns keeps the Lincoln, Starksboro and New Haven school buildings open but that is not the same as keeping open the community elementary schools in those towns.
Under the proposed plan, Lincoln K-5 students would go to the Bristol Elementary School along with Bristol and “some” New Haven and Starksboro students. Other New Haven and Starksboro students would join Monkton students at the Monkton Central School. Sixth-graders from all the five towns would go to the Mt. Abraham Middle School. The Lincoln and Starksboro school buildings would become undefined “District Innovation Sites.” Beeman would be become an “enhanced Pre-k/Early Ed” facility.
A community school by definition is a school that educates students from its own town and has an intimate involvement between town residents, students, their families, teachers, support staff and administrators. This would not be the case under the proposed plan.
Further, the plan deprives voters in individual towns a fundamental right to vote on the future of their community schools. The MAUSD Charter, developed in response to Act 46, gives each individual town the right to vote on whether or not to close their own school. By claiming not to close any schools, the Superintendent disenfranchises voters from the opportunity to vote on the future of their community schools. Without a school closure, the MAUSD Board decides on the future of education for the five towns. The fallacy in the logic is thinking a school is not closed when the school building is not closed. This is not the case.
Now the challenge is for the MAUSD Board as well as students and their families to develop an alternative plan that prioritizes the concept of community schools and allows individual towns to vote on those plans.
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