Op/Ed

Letter to the editor: MAUSD/ANWSD merger would lead to more changes

At its recent “Q & A” meetings in Bristol and Vergennes, the MAUSD-ANWSD Merger Study Committee claimed that the upcoming merger vote is “only” about merging governance.  That may be technically true. But as all of the committee’s meetings, transportation studies, mailings, fliers and its 152-page report to the Vermont Agency of Education make perfectly clear, the intention is to merge governance in order to enable:

• merging superintendents’ offices;

• revoking towns’ right to vote on the future of their elementary schools;

• removing all 6th-graders from their town elementary schools and moving them to one middle school; and

• merging high schools and middle schools, placing one in Bristol and the other in Vergennes, causing longer bus rides for more students at a very high cost.

In 2016 MAUSD, the five towns of Bristol, Lincoln, Monkton, New Haven and Starksboro approved a merger of their school districts. Since then, we have experienced less fiscal transparency; less board oversight; less communication between our schools and the school board; less communication between our communities and the board; less authority of principals for school budgeting, staffing, and supervision of staff; and more top-down decision making.

In light of that experience, why would we vote to move governance even farther from our schools than it has already been moved? Why would we believe that the proposed merger is a good idea?

For more information please visit StoptheMerger.info.

Nancy Cornell and Susan Klaiber

Starksboro

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