Letter to the editor: School merger info misleading?

I recently received a mailer from the ANWSD with information for voters about the upcoming school closure vote on Nov. 5. From the text on the recent mailer sent to voters in the town of Ferrisburgh: “Savings to projected FY21 expenses by closing two buildings: at least $2 million (tax rates will decrease)”.

This is not quite right. While the Education tax rate may slightly decrease with the closure of two schools, the municipal rate will rise, causing taxes overall to rise. If voters choose to close Ferrisburgh Central School, the town may purchase it for $1 plus any existing debt. The building comes with an existing $850,000 bond debt that the town will have to repay with municipal taxes. In addition, the town will also be responsible for upkeep to the building which will include heating in the winter, electric, water, lawn mowing, snow plowing, general maintenance, insurance, etc. Again, taxes will go up because of these factors. So to say that “tax rates will decrease” makes people think their taxes will go down if they vote to close the school. They absolutely will not.

Also the mailer says, “If the district continues to operate 3 or 4 school buildings, all District Administrative staff will relocate within a school building and discontinue renting office space. Savings to projected FY21 expenses: approximately $60,000.” This is true. However, they do not mention the fact that if both Addison and Ferrisburgh Central Schools close, the Administration has said they will need to build a structure on the High School campus to house administration because they will not fit within a school building under the new reconfiguration model. They have not calculated a cost for this, nor deducted it from the savings projection.

This language is deceiving to the voters.

Please do not let misleading information inform your vote. Please contact the Ferrisburgh Town Office for further clarification: 877-3429.

Rebekah Whitehurst

Ferrisburgh

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Addison County Independent

58 Maple Street
Middlebury, VT 05753

Phone: 802.388.4944
Fax: 802.388.3100