Op/Eds

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...
01/20/2020
In response to the letter of Jan. 6 (Invest in educators, not buildings) I am unable to contain my frustration at the blinkered and money-minded attitudes that led to the drive toward school consolidation. The writer's statement that she has “sincere respect” for communities outside of Middlebury is followed by her elitist assumption that our small school communities care more about our buildings than for the quality of our children’s education. She is right that we are all biased by our experiences, and I am glad that she found her children’s experience at Mary Hogan to be positive. But Mary...
01/20/2020
Writing helps me process life, and, because I am a slow processor, I tend to find myself putting words down in order to gain clarity and empathy for other people’s viewpoints. Last Wednesday, in the conference room at the Middlebury Town Offices, I sat among a diverse group of 25 — friends; strangers; parents with kids in Middlebury, Bridport, Cornwall, Weybridge and Ripton elementary schools; and community members without school-aged kids — all presented a variety of viewpoints and clarifications regarding school consolidation in our Addison Central School District (ACSD). This meeting, put...
01/20/2020
I believe some clarification is in order to anyone that signed, or is considering voting in favor of, the petition made by Save Our Schools to the Addison Central School District regarding school board composition and school consolidation procedures. It bears noting at the outset that every town in the district already agreed to its existing terms when unification was voted in the first place, so this petition constitutes an ex post facto renegotiation. Both parts of the petition are problematic, but the part that I’d like to discuss is the proposal that it should only be possible to close a...
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...
01/16/2020
The start of the new year provides an opportunity to reflect and set out our intentions for the months ahead. This year, I am asking all legislators to join me in committing to protect and expand access for Vermonters who are seeking access to public records. The bottom line is: open government is good government. Vermonters shouldn’t have to pay for access to inspect public records their government creates in the course of agency business. Navigating who to ask, and how to request public records is enough of a hurdle for most Vermonters. They shouldn’t also be charged an arm and a leg to...
01/16/2020
You have probably heard that the singular “They” pronoun was the Merriam-Webster Dictionary’s Word of the Year for 2019. But in case you’ve been too busy putting away holiday decorations (or in my case, freezing several gallons of turkey stock after simmering the holiday turkey carcass for an astonishing 24 hours) I will bring you up to speed. They/them are widely used personal pronouns for many people who identify as non-binary, people who don’t consider themselves male or female. I have a cousin and several friends who use they/them pronouns, so I’ve had a lot of opportunities to practice,...
01/16/2020
Lt. Gov. David Zuckerman’s decision to run for governor can be viewed from multiple angles, each offering different insights. Zuckerman’s decision is not without risk to his future political career. He could have remained lieutenant governor, been re-elected comfortably this fall, and simply waited until there was an open seat available: either for governor or for one of the positions in Vermont’s congressional delegation. The Vermont Democratic Party conducted extensive polling last year testing how Zuckerman and Attorney General T.J. Donovan would fare in a race against Gov. Phil Scott....
01/16/2020
Editor’s note: This is the 42nd in a series of essays on the history and meaning of the American political tradition. Was the Civil War inevitable? On the face of it, the answer is obviously no. We label events “inevitable” when we believe they cannot be avoided, like death and taxes. But we also believe that human events are the result of choices made by persons who are by nature free, rational and responsible, who could have done otherwise than they did if they had only chosen to do so, and who might have chosen otherwise if they had given more careful thought to their options. To suppose...
01/16/2020
We hear you. We don’t care. We’re doing what we want anyway. That’s the message I heard loud and clear at the ANWSD (Addison Northwest School District) board meeting Monday night. The board seemingly refused to warn a vote on petitions to change the articles of agreement to let the towns vote on whether or not they want their schools to close. To be clear, the board under legal advice, decided to ignore a petition representing 7% of all registered voters in the district and in their words, “save the electorate from themselves.” In five short minutes, the board decided they didn’t want to let...

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Addison County Independent

58 Maple Street
Middlebury, VT 05753

Phone: 802.388.4944
Fax: 802.388.3100