One of the school district redesign proposals would have all fifth- and sixth- graders in the district attending Crossett Brook, a proposal that will have consequences beyond getting those students with a larger cohort of their peers.
Take a look at the parking lots of any of the local elementary schools some morning at drop-off time. You’ll find empty buses and lines of parents dropping their children off. Imagine for a minute, all those cars streaming north on Route 100, past Harwood, over Duxbury Hills, to get to Crossett Brook.
That same proposal calls for closing two of The Valley’s elementary schools. Imagine parents from Warren driving their kids to Waitsfield, or Moretown to Waitsfield, or Fayston to Moretown.
Whichever scenario, that’s a lot of additional traffic on the roads and that’s a lot of emissions as well. We can’t ignore this unintended consequence of district redesign on our collective carbon footprint.
As the Harwood Unified Union School District (HUUSD) works through the first proposals from the administration, one concern that has been brought up repeatedly is the effect on busing. The Valley Reporter’s staff began discussing how the longer bus rides and longer car rides, from bringing all fifth- and sixth-graders to Crossett Brook will create a larger environmental footprint.
That issue should not be a concern for the district. The school board already has the immensely difficult job of trying to reconfigure the school district in a way that will lower cost and maximize educational opportunities. No option should be taken off the table for a fractional increase in the district’s or community’s environmental footprint.
The purpose of sending a child to school first and foremost is to make sure they are well educated. That is what the school board is focused on and they should keep it that way.