ANWSD


SHEILA SOULE
02/24/2020
VERGENNES — Late last month Addison Northwest School District Superintendent Sheila Soule told the school board that she would be leaving the job at the end of the school year. But last week she signed a contract to spend two more years as ANWSD’s top administrator. Soule did not point to one specific thing that changed her mind, but said board members were very supportive of her and they truly want what is best for the students in the district and for the community. “I also really care about what happens in ANWSD and want to do everything I can to ensure our students retain all of the...

MARTHA DEGRAAF, LEFT, and Jena Santa Maria are running for the seat now held by ANWSD Chair Sue Rakowski, who announced last month that she would not seek re-election.
02/10/2020
VERGENNES — On Town Meeting Day, March 3, voters in the Addison Northwest School District will elect or re-elect five representatives to the ANWSD Board of Directors: one in Addison, two in Ferrisburgh, one in Panton and one in Vergennes. Each is a three-year term. In Vergennes, Martha DeGraaf and Jena Santa Maria are running for the seat now held by ANWSD Chair Sue Rakowski, who announced last month that she would not seek re-election. Rakowski has served on the unified ANWSD board since its inception in March 2016, and has served as its chair for the past three years. The Independent asked...
01/30/2020
VERGENNES — After months of intense public debate over how to address sharply rising costs and steadily declining enrollment, the Addison Northwest School District board has proposed a fiscal year 2021 budget that would reduce spending by more than 1% over the current year, avoid programming cuts, minimize education property tax increases and close Addison Central School (ACS) for use as an elementary school. On Town Meeting Day, March 3, ANWSD residents will be asked to approve $21,842,595 in spending for next year, which is nearly $300,000 less than the amount voters approved for the...

ANWSD SUPERINTENDENT SHEILA Soule resigned last week, effective June 30.
01/27/2020
VERGENNES — Addison Northwest School District is looking for a new top administrator as Superintendent Sheila Soule last week resigned, effective June 30. “My decision to resign came after a great deal of reflection with my family and friends and did not come quickly or easily,” Soule told district faculty and staff in an email on Thursday. Soule joined ANWSD as superintendent on July 1, 2018, after serving for eight years as the curriculum director for the Harwood Unified Union School District. She does not know what her next steps are, professionally, she told the Independent in an email. “...
01/27/2020
VERGENNES — The tone and quality of disagreement about Addison Northwest School District business have taken a significant turn for the worst. On the afternoon of Jan. 16, ANWSD Board Chair Sue Rakowski called the Vergennes Police Department to report a message that had been left on her phone. The caller, who police believe was a male, had said to Rakowski, “Don’t let the power go to your head,” according to Vergennes Police Chief George Merkel. The statement was followed by “derogatory language I am unwilling to repeat,” Merkel told the Independent. “I’ll leave that out,” he said. “It was...
01/23/2020
Dear Friends and Neighbors in the Addison Northwest School District: In recent months I have had many private conversations with people in our district about the future of our schools, yet I have chosen not to speak publicly about the subject. I am involved with several volunteer organizations in our community, and I did not want any public comments I might make to be construed as the opinions of those organizations or to impact how I interact with individuals in those settings. I was wrong not to speak up. I want to apologize publicly to our school board. While I do not always agree with...
01/20/2020
Another year, another inflammatory editorial from the Addison Independent. In the Jan. 16 edition, Angelo Lynn accuses the Addison Northwest School District (ANSWD) board of violating “every tenet of the democratic process.” How, you might ask did these board members (who Lynn has previously accused of “acting like kings”) act in such an anti-democratic fashion? By responding to a group of citizens who, in objection to the board’s preferred policy, decided to challenge the authority of the board itself. As the spouse of an ANWSD board member, an educator and a parent of two children at...
01/16/2020
VERGENNES — Opponents of school closure in the Addison Northwest School District suffered two defeats at Monday night’s board meeting. First, the board rejected, on legal grounds, a pair of petitions seeking a vote to amend the ANWSD’s articles of unification, which would have prevented school closure or reconfiguration without permission of the voters residing in the school’s town. Then the board adopted a fiscal year 2021 budget proposal that would close Addison Central School for use as an elementary school and repurpose it for alternative education. LACKING AUTHORITY The petitions were...
01/16/2020
VERGENNES — On Town Meeting Day, when Addison Northwest School District voters go to the polls, they’ll have four school board seats to fill — one in Addison, two in Ferrisburgh and one in Vergennes. A fifth seat, in Panton, will be appointed by that town’s selectboard. Two ANWSD board incumbents have decided not to run. Addison representative George Lawrence and Ferrisburgh representative Laurie Gutowski told the Independent that they won’t seek another term on the board. At least three district residents will be running to fill their respective seats. Ferrisburgh resident Chris Kayhart has...
01/16/2020
The decision by the Addison Northwest School District board to reject two petitions seeking to amend the district’s articles of unification, and its decision to close Addison Central School for use as an elementary school and repurpose it for alternative education, points out a damning flaw in district’s new rules of governance: those rules deny residents a voice in governing those local schools. Under the district’s new rules, even if a supermajority of a town’s residents vote to keep a school open, the district board is not compelled to listen. From a strictly legal standpoint, that...

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Addison County Independent

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Middlebury, VT 05753

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