Editorial: Addison’s choice: Not much to lose and a lot to gain

As the town of Addison prepares to vote July 13 on whether to withdraw from the Addison Northwest School District, residents in the district’s other towns should view the proceedings with empathy — as if they were living in Addison and it was their school that had been closed by district officials against the town’s strong opposition.

In November 2019, Addison residents joined Ferrisburgh residents in defeating an ANWSD plan that would have closed both elementary schools. Addison residents rejected the plan, 373-123. Since then, district officials closed the school and converted the ACS facility into a special education hub called the Addison Wayfarers Experience that attracts students from throughout the district.

As a district action, it’s been a slap in the face for Addison residents.

That’s not to say it wasn’t a sound decision from a financial perspective, district officials suggest it is saving the district money, but it certainly wasn’t a decision that recognized the feelings and desires of the Addison community. It’s right, and should be expected, that such strong-handed actions have consequences.

If Addison residents do vote to withdraw from the school district, it would be hoped that district residents would follow in the steps of Addison Central School District and let Addison retain its school and forge its own way forward. To that end, district officials should pledge to work with Addison residents to make it as easy as possible for them to make the transition, rather than erect obstacles that would make it harder. The intent behind Act 46 was to consolidate governance of school districts and to coordinate educational processes within a school district, not to force school closures without a community’s consent and despite its opposition.

Addison has a long way to go in its campaign to stand on its own, and has much to prove that it can do so. That said, Addison residents who believe in the slogan “local schools, strong communities” don’t have much to lose and a lot to gain.

Angelo Lynn

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