school consolidation

02/10/2020
I worked as a teacher and principal at the Ripton Elementary School for 20 years beginning in the first fall the “new” school was opened. When Ripton no longer tuitioned students to Mary Hogan, and for the next 18 years, our student population averaged 65. We never had 80 students. Today the student population is 55 (five are tuition students from Hancock and Granville). The business manager at the ACSD Central Office sent me this information: “The tuition number does fluctuate as students come and go, but at the start of the school year, we had 11 students at MUMS, five at Ripton, 19 at MUHS...
02/10/2020
My family and I, like many families in Addison County, love living in this area because of its highly regarded local schools that reflect the virtues of rural Vermont’s good character. We trust in the good faith of its citizenry. So it’s been perplexing to see the processes orchestrated by the political leadership directing the procedures of local school consolidation.  At every turn, there’s been an angle of presentation that skews biased and jarringly removed from the local character of the area. Perhaps it is not hard to discern why. Directions emanating from the centralizing forces of...
02/03/2020
I attended the Jan. 27 ACSD Facilities Master Plan meeting at the MUHS auditorium. I was truly disappointed with the turnout. I expected the room to be standing room only with concerned taxpayers from the seven affected communities. If there was 30-40% occupancy, I would be surprised. As I expected, the presentation was mostly a scare tactic. Our student population is declining. This is the taxpayers’ fault? Do not blame the Vermont Legislature and local officials who blatantly discourage any commercial or business growth in the state, which would encourage our young people to seek jobs in...
02/03/2020
To the Addison Central School District School Board, Superintendent Burrows, editor of the Addison Independent and fellow residents of ACSD, Since I last wrote to the Addison Independent in May 2019, it seems that the emotions surrounding changes and decisions facing our school community have intensified, yet we still seem to be far from reaching any conclusions or definitive course of action. Our district faces many challenges: We must put taxation issues aside and engage with the future of ACSD. The first problem is that, financially speaking, we cannot continue as we are. We have a limited...
01/27/2020
As the son of a former MUHS principal (1961-1979) who was then district business manager for a few years, I’m not sure how my father, Dr. Kenneth Severson, feels about Act 68. I may ask him. I myself am opposed to closing down the smaller schools. I think the Middlebury elementary school should be closed down and the children bused to the country schools for a rural education and the money allocated to Mary Hogan School should be distributed to these outlying schools. As well, each town should elect its own school board members and the school board members of already unified MUHS as well....
01/23/2020
MDDLEBURY — The Addison Central School District board on Tuesday unanimously rejected two citizens’ petitions — based on a lawyer’s advice — that sought to give each of the seven ACSD-member towns more of a say in the election of their educational leaders and in the potential closure of their respective elementary schools. Tuesday’s vote, after approximately 30 minutes of debate, comes around a week after the Addison Northwest School District board declined a similar petition effort that would have prevented a school closure or reconfiguration without permission of voters in the town in which...
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...

THESE WEYBRIDGE WOMEN have joined forces to reshape the school closure debate in the Addison Central School District. Pictured here, left to right, are Amy Mason, Jennifer Phelps and Julia Barry. Independent photo/John S. McCright
01/20/2020
WEYBRIDGE — Three Weybridge women have joined forces to infuse two ingredients they believe have been in short supply thus far in the school closure debate in the Addison Central School District: financial statistics and conversation that prioritizes students’ needs. “We want to be doing what works best for children, particularly our most vulnerable children, and we want that to be at the very heart of our school board’s planning and decision making process,” said one of the women, Julia Barry. She and her friends Amy Mason and Jennifer Phelps have a combined seven children attending either...
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...

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Addison County Independent

58 Maple Street
Middlebury, VT 05753

Phone: 802.388.4944
Fax: 802.388.3100