Education Op/Ed

Letter to the editor: Kramer will bring commitment, energy to ACSD board

In general, I try to keep what I write about to what I know and I try not to make it very political if I can help it. In that sense I try not to publicly support someone for elected office unless I feel like I truly know them and what they stand for. It is with that framework that I am again writing in support of Chris Kramer for the Cornwall town seat on the Addison Central School District (ACSD) school board.

I have known Chris for five years now, since my youngest and his oldest started Kindergarten at Cornwall’s Bingham Memorial School. Most of our interactions have been through or somehow connected to the Friends of Cornwall School (FOCS). In that time there have been other opportunities for us to get to know each other on a more personal level.

From watching Chris step into a high level FOCS position after one year, to his regularly attending ACSD board meetings he has exhibited his commitment to the education of all our district students. By being willing to dig deeper when he was concerned about certain issues, he proved his interest in maintaining a level of transparency and integrity that in my understanding of board operations has not always been exhibited by some board members or top administrative staff in recent years.

When there were board conversations looking into the potential for closing particular towns’ schools, our hometown school was included in these talks. Then there was a sudden shift to keep Cornwall school in exchange for another less well-off town’s school in an (I would say successful) attempt to avoid Cornwall joining Ripton and Weybridge in voting on whether to leave ACSD or not. When this happened, in an effort to maintain equity among the towns, Chris was willing to take an unpopular position in speaking up against such a move without full and proper consideration.

At the time I joined, FOCS was in a time of transition, with several longtime members and officers reaching the end of their time at Cornwall school. This led to rather quick turnover of all officer positions and some long-offered after school programming discontinuing. Furthermore, the non-profit status had lapsed some years prior and the school’s uncertain future left us questioning if it was worth the effort to re-establish such a status. Many of our efforts focused on maintaining longstanding in-school traditions and finding new ways to support classes with limited funds.

Chris joined a year later, and stepped into the role of co-chair in less than a year. Before very long the COVID-19 pandemic hit and further strained resources and efforts to recruit volunteers.

That is when Chris and others started to bring FOCS into the 21st century. In connection with a letter writing fundraising campaign, he established a way for us to receive donations virtually. Additionally, he has helped to return FOCS to a non-profit status and continues to find more ways to make supporting them easier.

Chris has also helped to forge partnerships with Middlebury Community Music Center, Middlebury Studio School, Middlebury Area Land Trust and more to provide after-school options for our students almost every day. His efforts to offer this programing at no charge to families has certainly made this programing feel more accessible for my family.

While I’m sure the other candidates for the Cornwall seat have good qualifications as well, I have no doubt that Chris will bring the same level of effort and dedication to the district-wide level. If elected, I believe he will proceed with an open mind and in a transparent way that will benefit the whole district for years to come. He is up to the challenges that loom ahead for our district. I encourage all ACSD voters to visit Chris’ campaign site at votechriskramer.com to learn more.

Ian Ross

Cornwall

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