Op/Ed

Letter to the editor: Ripton exodus raises questions

I live in Middlebury and feel a lot of sympathy with both Ripton and Weybridge as they face the likely closure of their elementary schools if they remain within the Addison Central School District. I’m interested that the two towns have voted differently on the question of leaving the supervisory union, and am curious as to why this happened.
As I ponder my own vote on the question, one thing that concerns me is the impact of withdrawal on the property tax burden of low- and moderate-income residents in Ripton. Our state has a system of income-based school property taxes, but I believe that a town has to keep its per-student cost below a certain level in order to qualify for the state subsidies. I’m wondering how Ripton proposes to achieve that, with its low student census and substantial instructional, building and transportation costs.
Also, I believe the district now has a teachers’ contract covering all the schools, with uniform medical and other benefits. How would withdrawal from ACSD affect Ripton’s teachers when they are no longer part of the district bargaining unit?
David Andrews
Middlebury

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