Op/Ed

Letter to the editor: One county, one school district

Regarding the closure of small schools: It appears as though closing small schools and cutting teacher positions will greatly impact our elementary school students by increasing class sizes and increasing commuting times. Are there any benefits? The district has not offered them. Furthermore, if the school district would be more transparent about costs, it would reveal that the high cost of education is directly linked to the high cost of health care, which closing small schools and increasing class sizes does little to address.
Furthermore, I believe that the charter governing the ACSD district — which is far more restrictive than other charters — was deliberately written with the intention of closing small schools, as was the push to initiate the IB degrees, which led the district to make the small schools smaller by removing the sixth grades.
There are some emails floating around suggesting that Ripton students will be divided between Salisbury and Middlebury. Of all of the ideas floating around, this is probably the worst for our children. It particularly disadvantages students whose parents won’t be able to transport them to socialize with their out-of-town friends. I note that our middle and high school students are already disadvantaged because there are no late buses for transporting kids who participate in after-school sports or clubs.
It seems especially cruel to extend that disadvantage to our youngest children. I will be voting for Ripton to withdraw from the school district as a protest vote. I want to call attention to the very flawed Act 46, which brought us to this impasse. All the union districts should be governed equitably, each town should have representation that represents the sending town, and the state must get a handle on health care costs.
As for the administration of the district, I propose one unified district for the entire county, removing the need for three superintendents and their deputies. That would be a cost-saving measure I could enthusiastically endorse.
Andrea Chesman
Ripton
 

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