Op/Ed

Letter to the editor: School boards are on the wrong track

Three school boards oversee all the public schools in Addison County. And those boards have been asking the wrong questions.
The first statutory and essential duty of Vermont’s school boards is to “determine the educational policies of the school district.” (16 V.S.A. § 563) In other words, to determine what educational needs of which students are being met, which are not, and how to better meet the needs of all students.
Unfortunately, our school boards have skipped over these questions, and instead spent three years trying to figure out how to reduce spending by closing and consolidating schools. No board has even estimated which students will benefit or suffer from the proposals they have floated.
Both students and taxpayers would be better off if the school boards and public first discussed students’ needs and how to meet them. Then we could at least acquire criteria by which to assess proposals to shut schools and re-distribute students. And at best, we’d develop fresh ideas of how to meet more nearly the needs of all students.
John Freidin
Middlebury

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