Editorial: The law worked, the fun begins
That the State Board of Education ruled unanimously in favor of Ripton’s request to withdraw from the Addison Central School District is a victory for Ripton’s effort to determine the fate of its community school. Importantly, it also reinforces the public’s confidence in the legislative intent of laws passed.
Clearly, Ripton residents met every measure of the district charter when asking to withdraw, and the community was well versed in the pros and cons of the issue after a nearly two-year discussion. While it was Act 46’s intent to encourage school consolidation where appropriate, the law also made it clear that towns that were opposed would have an avenue to appeal district decisions and withdraw if they had enough support to do so. Had the SBE ruled otherwise, it would have made a shambles of the law as passed.
In fact, the law worked as designed. A rigorous process assured Ripton advocates had overwhelming town support of the measure to keep their school open; they then convinced six other district towns to agree despite the opposition of the district school board; and finally the SBE also warned of the hard road ahead but ultimately gave their approval.
Now, for advocates of the Ripton school, the fun work begins. The task is to create a sustainable community school that meets the town’s academic expectations at an affordable cost with the added benefit of keeping the town’s community center vibrant and strong. Based on how the community has responded so far in this effort, we expect creative and productive ideas to come from the next steps in this process.
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