Letter to the editor: Ferrisburgh school is a worthwhile investment

Dear Addison County Independent readers and Members of the Addison Northwest School District Board,

Recently at the start of the school year, we learned of the plan to suddenly close Ferrisburgh Central School and Addison Central School at the end of this academic year. Many of the underlying assumptions for this recommendation by the ANWSD board are based on projecting the penalties incurred by the state for exceeding per pupil spending. The recent school board budget, which included paid stipends for some board members and facility upgrades, passed by seven votes. Understandably the board is hesitant to propose a budget that would raise taxes on every home. It’s estimated that the tax increase would be $1,000 for a $300,000 home. That is a lot of money.

Every day we all make choices to spend money on the things we value, be it vacations, meals out, time together with family, hunting, fishing, and all the things that make Addison County a great place to live. Would our community consider about $85 more a month to keep our schools open rather than a shortsighted attempt to save money based on estimated projection? Will Addison families pay that amount monthly in extra gas getting their kids to school if busing is not an option? What about the missed wages for hourly workers who will need to reorganize their work schedules to ensure their kids can arrive and leave on time for school?

I recognize that $1,000/year is a serious amount of money. This is also a serious moment in our history if we shut down the heart of our community, our local school. There is no coming back from this.

Our family moved to Ferrisburgh because of the community, ease of my commute to work, and perhaps most importantly, the school. Our school serves as the only community center in town where parents, grandparents, our kids and friends gather for connection. Many people who live in Ferrisburgh graduated from this very school and have made a wonderful home in our community because of the connections developed at FCS over the years. I mean no slight to the educators and families at VUES and VUHS, I only know what my child has experienced at FCS and I have found it to be an exceptional educational experience.

I hope you consider attending the meeting on Sept. 9 at VUHS where the board will decide the future of our county schools. Local PTOs have created childcare at schools that night so that more people can attend the meeting in person and share your views with the board.

I value our schools and I value our community. Please join me in learning more about the issues facing our county schools and speak out with me.

Thank you sincerely,

Matt Vogel

Ferrisburgh

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Addison County Independent

58 Maple Street
Middlebury, VT 05753

Phone: 802.388.4944
Fax: 802.388.3100