Monkton to host community school forum Thursday

MONKTON — The Monkton selectboard will host a special “Community School Forum” at the new Town Offices and via Zoom this Thursday, Sept. 30, at 7 p.m.

The aim of the meeting, which was requested by residents, is “to clarify the current status of MAUSD (Mount Abraham Unified School District) discussions regarding the proposals from the superintendent, the public proposals, the process, the Lincoln vote, and the merger talks,” according to a town announcement on Front Porch Forum.

Monkon’s selectboard will make a brief presentation, then open the floor to questions and comments.

At the board’s Sept. 13 meeting, chair Stephen Pilcher suggested a number of questions to be considered at the forum:

• Why does Lincoln want to withdraw from the MAUSD?

• What does it mean for Monkton?

• What are the long-range facilities proposals and how are they being considered?

• What is the ANWSD-MAUSD Merger Study Committee doing?

Pilcher noted at the meeting that there seems to be some confusion among Monkton voters about the status of various issues in the school district.

Eugenie Doyle and Sam Burr are two of the Monkton residents who requested the forum be held.

“Our school is critical infrastructure representing the heart of our community,” they wrote in an Aug. 25 letter to the selectboard, which was reprinted in the Independent. “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.”

It’s important to note that this is not the informational meeting regarding the vote to ratify Lincoln’s request to withdraw from the school district. That vote is likely to happen in early November, and the details of the required informational meeting will be scheduled at a later date.

Other towns in the MAUSD have also held, or plan to hold, community forums to discuss school district issues.

Starksboro residents met on Aug. 24, and the town selectboard is mulling a follow-up meeting.

New Haven community members will host a gathering next month at Beeman Elementary School “to bring our community together to discuss thoughts about the MAUSD process for addressing the challenge in our district and towns of declining enrollment.” The Independent will preview that meeting next week.

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