• Published in Letters

To The Editor:

In reading over the minutes from the Harwood Unified Union School District Board of Directors meeting from January 17, 2018, it was quite disconcerting to encounter this: “Brigid’s strategy: going to have to be challenging in some dialogs, will have to be candid. Board has to help with pushing that is done by Brigid.” What happened to having fair, equal and just representation? I believe each person on the newly formed “big” or “super” board is there not for the small stipend they are receiving but rather because they care deeply about the school and town they are representing. Is forcing an agenda upon them conducive to free thought and problem solving? Not from my point of view.

The minutes also state that the board’s goals are going to be “money and excellence.” While the latter is a lofty ideal, I would suggest the focus be on accountability and achievement. While the task of forming a budget for six towns encompassing a school district must be challenging, it seems to happen each year one way or another. Maxine Grad’s latest legislative update outlined a few changes that are being considered to the school funding law. This will continue to be a point of contention as it has for decades, but that is why we have elected officials in Montpelier. By closing two schools you are looking at saving the roughly $2 million operating budget from each one which is a small drop in the bucket out of $36 million.

I have not even addressed the 12 to 15 teaching positions that would most likely be eliminated and numerous staff personnel as well. Let us not force through an aggressive, stringent redesign plan without lengthy dialogue and lots of local input. I imagine together we could all come up with a workable solution or two. There is way too much at stake to let the vote of one individual determine the future of our schools, teachers, kids, communities and place of being.

Andrew Merrill