Letter to the editor: Monkton school meeting sought

We recently sent the following letter to the Monkton selectboard requesting that we Monktonites become informed and involved as a community with the ongoing discussion about town schools and the education of our youngest citizens. We recently took part in the “Town Schools listening session” organized by the Vermont Folklife Center and it was a lovely experience to be listened to describing why we feel our five-town schools are important. Our request for this meeting springs from the desire that everyone have the opportunity to be listened to: parents, students, our town officials (including our two remaining school board members), and community members/taxpayers,

Dear Monkton Selectboard,

We are writing to request that you hold a public meeting on the current status and future of Monkton Elementary School.

Lincoln, a member of our existing five-town school district, is scheduled to vote on August 24 on withdrawing from the Mount Abe Union Supervisory District (MAUSD). If they decide to withdraw, Monkton will have to vote on whether to allow Lincoln to withdraw. Starksboro is also considering a withdrawal vote. Meanwhile, an appointed committee from MAUSD and the Vergennes district is discussing a merger of the two districts. Allegedly, this unelected group can create an agreement that would negate the provision in the MAUSD merger agreement requiring a town vote to close that town’s elementary school. At the same time, we are hearing many conflicting budget figures both for individual towns and the MAUSD. We are also hearing that a consultant has been hired for $100,000 to evaluate proposals put forth as alternatives to Superintendent Reen’s proposal for repurposing three of the five towns’ elementary schools.

Monkton no longer has our own school board. Our school is critical infrastructure representing the heart of our community. Any changes in our five-town district’s schools will affect Monkton. We can’t sit by and pretend that, because our school isn’t on the chopping block right now, we are unaffected by chosen or forced changes in our neighboring towns. We need to understand the implications of MAUSD long-range facilities planning on Monkton Elementary School. We need to understand the actions being taken by the MAUSD superintendent, school board, and the merger committee and how those impact Monkton. We need to explore what actions Monkton can take to ensure the best education for our children at a reasonable price.

To those aims we request the selectboard hold a community in-person meeting with an online option as soon as possible.

Thank you.

Sam Burr and Eugenie Doyle


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