school closures

BRISTOL — After months of deliberation, a Mount Abraham Unified School District committee has narrowed down a wide range of building closure options and will soon make a formal recommendation to Superintendent Patrick Reen. Like many of its Vermont peers, the MAUSD has been struggling with declining enrollment, which reduces the Bristol-area district’s income from the state. It also faces increasing costs, especially those related to employee health care. Reen has projected that MAUSD annual budgets could exceed state-mandated spending thresholds by millions of dollars in coming years,...
Editor’s note: The writers sent this letter to the Mount Abraham Unified School District board and cc’d the Independent. Dear MAUSD School Board Members, It has become painfully clear that our district schools are in a tough place financially. We hear you. We share your concerns, and very much appreciate both your commitment to kids and your earnest sense of urgency in seeking solutions. At the same time, we have come to believe there may be steps we can take that will enable our six schools to survive and flourish. With this in mind, we request that you put on hold any plans (including plans...
CORNWALL — Four of the Addison Central School District’s seven communities will hold March 3 votes on two petitioned referenda that the ACSD board declined to warn on its Town Meeting Day ballot. The questions ask residents if they want more of a say in the future of their respective elementary schools and how their school directors are elected. The selectboards in Cornwall, Ripton, Salisbury and Shoreham have permitted these petitioned votes, though the results won’t be binding on the school board. “Tuesday is a big day, and this whole process, for me, has been about getting involved,...

FRANK SWENTON IS a Mary Hogan parent and co-author of a petition to the ACSD board in favor of merging the district's elementary schools.
MIDDLEBURY — The Addison Central School District (ACSD) board has for many months been hearing a “don’t close our small schools” message from a coalition of Ripton and Weybridge residents organized under the banner of “Save Our Schools.” Now ACSD directors are hearing from a group of Middlebury residents who are urging the board to do the opposite. They’re arguing limited education tax dollars are being funneled away from the district’s largest elementary school — Mary Hogan Elementary in Middlebury — in order to extend a lifeline to the smaller learning centers they contend are unsustainable...
When I was a little 15-year-old, the powers-that-be in my small town decided to consolidate our schools. It caused a lot of anguish for many parents, who were suddenly faced with seeing their children schooled in a different building in a different town. Consolidation also prompted students to scream. Those of us on the basketball team didn’t want to exchange our proud blue-and-white uniforms for purple-and-gold, and neither did the cheerleaders. (No girls’ teams in those days.) But the financial arguments prevailed, and we went from being Blue Devils to Golden Eagles. Goodbye Clyde Central...
VERGENNES — Less than a month after voters in Addison and Ferrisburgh defeated a proposal by the Addison Northwest School District to close Addison Central School (ACS) and Ferrisburgh Central School (FCS), a citizens group has launched a campaign to amend the ANWSD articles of agreement in a manner that would give district residents more power in deciding the fate of their local schools. “It’s time to re-evaluate how we want to be making decisions regarding our children,” said Addison resident Caetlin Harwood, who is a member of the Rural School Alliance, or RSA. “Making these amendments...
VERGENNES — Some financial projections have changed in the Addison Northwest School District recently — in the district’s favor. For months, the ANWSD board and administrators anticipated that the district would need to cut $955,000 from next year’s budget in order to avoid incurring a tax penalty for exceeding the state-mandated per-pupil-spending threshold. Consequently the school district proposed closing Addison Central School (ACS) and Ferrisburgh Central School (FCS) next year, in order to save money, but on Nov. 5 voters in those two towns rejected the idea. Now, owing to a number of...
Your editorial “Let small schools prove themselves” and the article written by Mr. Ross “Addison gears up for school closure fight” (both published in the Independent on Oct. 24) made me sick to my stomach, due to both the lack of investigative reporting on the issue and the false narrative that you chose to perpetuate of the school board as the villain. The school board is composed of ordinary people who care deeply about schools and education; they are our neighbors and we elected them to oversee the ANWSD (Addison Northwest School District). Neither of you took time to interview school...

ORGANIZERS OPPOSED TO closing Addison Central School put up this sign not far from the Addison Town Clerk’s Office on Tuesday. Voters overwhelmingly defeated elementary school closure proposals in Addison and Ferrisburgh. Independent photo/Steve James
ADDISON & FERRISBURGH — On Tuesday voters in Addison and Ferrisburgh, by large margins, rejected the Addison Northwest School District’s proposal to close Addison Central School (ACS) and Ferrisburgh Central School (FCS) on June 30, 2020. In Addison the tally was 373 opposed and 123 in favor. In Ferrisburgh: 884 opposed–160 in favor. Voter turnout was 46 percent in Addison and 45 percent in Ferrisburgh. “Our towns have spoken through (this) vote — both strongly opposed to closing Addison’s and Ferrisburgh’s schools,” wrote Addison resident Ashley Paquette in an email on behalf of Addison’...
Closing a town’s elementary school was as tough as predicted: In the town of Addison, voters on Tuesday rejected the Addison Northwest School District’s suggestion to voluntarily close its school by a three-to-one margin: 373 opposed to 123 in favor. Ferrisburgh voters rejected a similar recommendation by a five-to-one margin, 884 opposed and 160 in favor. No surprise in either instance. Town residents sent a clear message on several fronts: 1) they wanted to keep their schools open; 2) as a community, they wanted be in driver’s seat when it came to making the decision to keep their schools...

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