Education Op/Ed

Letter to the editor: ACSD issues need attention

We are parents, educators and community members who are deeply concerned with the current Addison Central School District board’s priorities and approach to education. It’s time for a change.

Students and educators need to be at the center of our solutions to improve our schools. For too long, the board’s reform efforts have focused narrowly on facilities — square footage, building maintenance, number of bathrooms, etc. — despite objections from the community. Rather than engaging in good faith to develop a shared vision for our schools’ futures, they brought forth a flawed plan to close rural schools and halted the transportation study before it was complete.

This process eroded the trust between the board, school administration and our towns. We would like to rebuild it by prioritizing the mental and emotional well-being at all our schools, no matter where they are in the district, and focusing on bringing community voices back into the conversation.

Our schools are struggling from disruptions brought on by the pandemic and decisions made to reorganize our district to align with the design of International Baccalaureate. Students and teachers are also dealing with increased behavioral issues. Middlebury Union Middle School, in particular, is overwhelmed. Teachers there now need more resources, not fewer, which demonstrates that consolidation does not always generate the savings promised.

Examining our budget challenges holistically, across all of our schools, will help us to better use our resources, take advantage of our varied strengths, and target student-centered initiatives. We also need to formally assess the cost and effectiveness of the International Baccalaureate program and ensure that it is meeting the needs of our students.

We invite you to join us in growing public trust from the community to the classroom. Please vote for us on March 1. We hope this is just the beginning of a collaborative relationship where we can build a board that responds to and reflects the diversity of our schools and communities.

Joanna Doria, Ripton

Jamie McCallum, Weybridge

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