Education Op/Ed

Letter to the editor: Buck lists priorities for another term on ACSD board

I am re-running for the Addison Central School District board as there are many items left to do. First, as your ACSD representative to the Patricia Hannaford Career Center board, we have just recently hired a new superintendent/director and I wish to see her settled in and able to make the commitment that she has spoken about to the career center and the community. This board also wishes for me to return.

The ACSD community itself is about to embark on the same process in deciding what we as a unified learning community want in a new superintendent. Then there is the real work of actually interviewing and finding the right fit. I believe my work in helping to guide PAHCC through a collaborative process to identify the best leader for an organization that serves several different communities will serve ACSD’s superintendent search process well.

The ACSD has several challenges ahead. First, we have the same fiscal challenges that all other districts in Vermont are facing. Another challenge is finding and securing staff to work with our most vulnerable Special Education population. Our district, like so many others across the region, is also struggling to find adequate and knowledgeable staff to move into these positions.

I do not believe that salary is the issue but the fact that so many are leaving the world of education due to burnout and need for a change. I understand how this feels. Like many of these teachers, I worked every day throughout the pandemic teaching students, supporting them and their families, and it takes a lot of external support to keep going. I want to support our educators, and am hoping that as some are able to replenish their batteries, they can return and find the joy in working with students again.

Another challenge is the safety of our children and staff. Incivility, harassment, and violence have increased across our nation and we need to protect those who are placed in our care. This means ensuring the resources to prevent and address problematic behavior and avoiding divisiveness in our own actions. We are stewards and need to lead by example, as they are watching and the way we conduct ourselves in public can lead to their poor judgment and actions.

Finally, we have many infrastructure issues to deal with. The PAHCC board has gone through this process of choosing the most important and cost-effective maintenance items in order to keep our buildings up to date while maintaining a healthy environment. Our bond went out to vote last spring and by this coming fall the work will be complete. The ACSD community will need to prioritize and address these same issues. Without building aid from the state the full cost will fall on our shoulders, so we will need to work together to identify and implement solutions.

Over the past 11 years, I have been an advocate for ACSD teachers, staff and students, serving this community not only as an ACSD board member but as a member of the PAHCC board and Vermont School Board Association. As a special education teacher and a longtime community member I truly believe that we can come back together as we come out of COVID and once again meet, listen and learn from each other in order to come up with solutions to keeping our district solid and moving forward.

I ask for your support on March 7th at the polls for another and final three years representing the wonderful communities that make up ACSD. 

Suzanne Buck

Bridport

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