Letter to the editor: Mount Abe board coverage criticized

As chair of the Mount Abraham Unified School District (MAUSD) School Board Community Engagement committee, I appreciated the opportunity to speak with Addison Independent reporter Christopher Ross about the surveys we recently conducted with 5 Town Residents, which included an online version as well as more in depth, individual conversations between 35 volunteers and 135 community members.

However, I was disappointed that Mr. Ross included other school board business in this article without adequately providing context to these matters. For example, it is inaccurate to call the Board’s use of executive session “secret.” A school board may only enter executive session for very specific reasons according to Vermont Open Meeting Law. Those reasons must be stated before going into executive session and most often related to contracts, labor relations agreements, grievances, or the evaluation of an employee.

The Community Engagement committee has worked collaboratively over many months, and many volunteer hours, with community members, board members and administration. Our goal and commitment is to repair and rebuild relationships and trust, recognizing there is a lot of work to be done as well as a lot to celebrate about our schools.

A key piece of our work is ensuring our efforts are well communicated and shared with the public. We hoped ongoing coverage by the Addison Independent would help us reach as many members of our community as possible. Coverage that is sensationalized and divisive makes our efforts that much more challenging.

I hope that as this work continues and there are other opportunities to report on our efforts, your coverage is presented in a way that helps us to build on what we are trying to accomplish, as a group of committed volunteers working to improve our community.

Krista Siringo

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Addison County Independent

58 Maple Street
Middlebury, VT 05753

Phone: 802.388.4944
Fax: 802.388.3100