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Voices / Letters from readers

School board chair’s behavior promotes dissension when cooperation is needed

Less than two weeks after the chair of the Brattleboro Town School Board, Jill Stahl Tyler, wrote a letter to the State Board of Education advocating for Vernon to be removed from the WSESU, she testified before the House Committee on Education, as the School Board chair, without authorization or any direction from her local board.

In her testimony, she argued against several bills that would extend the timeline for forced mergers for one year pending the outcome of a lawsuit.

As part of her testimony in support of her argument, she suggested that Dummerston School students were ill prepared when they entered Brattleboro Union High School. That is patently false, and she should know that as a result of her work on the Study Committee.

Dummerston students are among the top-ranking students in the state and consistently score above the state averages in test after test after test. In fact, in 2016 the eighth graders ranked first in the state in both English and math.

To have this public servant making statements alienating neighboring communities and working against the wishes of her own community — they voted by a 2:1 margin not to merge — is outlandish behavior and promotes dissension in our communities when cooperation needs to exist in our supervisory union.

We can do better — and we must, if we are all going to get along.

Paul Normandeau

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Originally published in The Commons issue #496 (Wednesday, February 6, 2019). This story appeared on page D3.

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