ACSD


RIPTON RESIDENT ANZA Armstrong was accompanied to the polls on Tuesday by her dog, Bailey. She and scores of other Ripton residents were asked if their town should withdraw from the Addison Central School District. The referendum passed, 163-107. Now residents in the six other ACSD communities will decide whether to affirm Ripton’s vote. Independent photo/Steve James
RIPTON — Ripton residents on Tuesday voted, 163-107, in favor of withdrawing from the Addison Central School District, while Weybridge residents opted against doing so by a 190-119 margin. The six other ACSD member towns must now vote in favor of Ripton’s bid to leave the district if the proposed exodus is to proceed to the Vermont Board of Education. The state board would then decide whether the town could become its own independent school district. Both the Ripton and Weybridge votes were triggered by citizens’ petitions seeking to prevent closure of their elementary schools. The ACSD board...
VERGENNES / MIDDLEBURY — The recent spike in COVID-19 cases in Addison County touched area schools, with Addison Central School District choosing to put more students on remote education in response to positive tests and Addison Northwest School District keeping most of its students in their classrooms. In ACSD, it began on Friday, Jan. 8, when Middlebury Union Middle School interim Principal Andrew Conforti announced that the Phoenix team at MUMS — made up of around 70 students — would spend the ensuing week learning remotely. That’s because a member of the MUMS community had tested positive...

A YARD SIGN in Middlebury this week urges voters in Ripton to vote in favor of leaving the Addison Central School District. Independent photo/Megan James
This story was corrected after it was originally posted to correct an error. We found out after the story went to press that the ACSD had updated its FAQ on the Ripton and Weybridge secession votes, and that the two towns would not absolutely loose their small schools grants from the state if they left the school district. Instead, they could seek continuation of their Small School grants if ultimately the state granted them permission to continue as independent school districts. MIDDLEBURY — Ripton and Weybridge residents will go to the polls on Tuesday, Jan. 12, to decide whether they’d...
MIDDLEBURY — The latest 2021-2022 budget draft for Addison Central School District calls for $40.3 million in spending — less than a 1% boost compared to this year — but would require homestead education property tax rate hikes ranging from 11 cents per $100 in property value in Shoreham to 25 cents in Salisbury, according to district officials. The board is likely to use surplus funds to soften the impact of the budget on local property tax rates. Board members continue to debate exactly how much of the district’s $1,173,744 fund balance (unaudited) from fiscal year 2020 it should use....
MIDDLEBURY — Addison Central School Board members agreed on Monday to delay their decision on possible elementary school closures until the end of this academic year. The board had been slated to make that major decision at its annual meeting on Feb. 23, but decided to postpone the vote in order to give more time for public feedback. The board also will get the full results of a transportation study that will give officials a better sense of how transitioning from the current seven elementary schools to four would affect the duration of student bus rides. The ACSD panel is currently leaning...
The Addison Independent received more letters regarding the upcoming ACSD secession votes than we had room to print in our Jan. 7 edition. Since the votes scheduled before our next print deadline,  here are all the letters on this subject — the ones we printed, plus the other that appear only here on our website. If we don’t trust ACSD leaders we should withdraw By Joanna Doria   Don’t overlook the intangibles that small schools provide By Saul Nurok   Keep Weybridge school open By Kelsey and Chris Eberly of Weybridge   Small schools face long odds By Jerry Shedd   Children are first priority...
Over the last few years, school consolidation has been a contentious issue in Addison County and across Vermont. For many of us, it has taken up a tremendous amount of mental energy, time, and resources; sometimes, it feels like every step forward is followed by two steps back. Some have blamed those who are advocating for small-town schools for a lack of definite progress, accusing us of “undermining the strength of our district,” having a “limited imagination,” and of “looking backward and not forward.” I have heard and read the buzz phrases: stronger together, one learning community, and...
No. No, and no again. I write in defense of my fellow Addison Central School District board members, who are much more diplomatic and polite than I am. Contrary to what John Freidin has written in this paper and on Front Porch Forum — cutting the school budget is not the board’s major goal. The board is grappling with reality while trying its damnedest to provide all youngsters with the best education possible. Yes, the board has fiduciary responsibilities but not at the expense of children’s needs and education. Literally years of thought, discussion, analysis of educational needs and...
At a special Ripton Town Meeting on Jan. 12, 2021, Ripton residents are being asked to vote on whether to leave Addison County School District. This special election was not the initiative of Ripton Select Board or School Board, it was sponsored by a group of genuinely concerned Ripton citizens organized as SOS, Save Our School, with the objective of leaving ACSD and preserving Ripton Elementary School. On Dec. 30, Stronger Together, also a group of genuinely concerned Ripton citizens, put together a website that describes the problems of leaving ACSD and the advantages of remaining within...
My take is the waters are muddy and closing three or four small schools is an extreme option. Moving forward with this plan puts Weybridge in the challenging position of accepting this option versus pursuing a similarly extreme option of withdrawal. Thus far a major focus has been on the tangible benefits of consolidation — finances and the physical state of individual buildings. While I appreciate each board member for their dedication and service to our community, I am concerned the board has overlooked many intangibles that can’t be easily quantified on a spreadsheet or neatly packed into...

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