David Schoales

Maciel, Young, Schibley, Leavy for WSESD board

Voters in the four WSESD towns have some terrific choices for school directors this year. (Ballots are available now until Election Day from Town Clerks.)

I hope Tim Maciel and Kelly Young will be elected to continue their work serving our children. They have done well pushing for relevant information to guide decisions while sorting through the complexities of the merged district. That complexity makes institutional memory highly valuable, and takes time to accumulate. Our school communities would lose a lot if Tim or Kelly were displaced.

Tim Maciel was key to finally getting student voices on the board, and their impact is being felt. Tim and Deborah Stanford recruited applicants and interviewed them for seats on the board, then got board approval for two representatives.

More than a dozen students had applied, so Tim and Deb invited those who were not selected to form a Student Advisory Council to support their new representatives. Thanks to Tim and Deborah, the SAC is becoming a solid force for openness and communication at BUHS.

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School funding scheme offers confusion, uncertainty, and empty promises

The House Ways and Means Committee’s proposal for education funding will protect school districts that have had more than their fair share for decades and have been leaving the rest of us, with lots of kids in crisis, to make do with less

It appears the lure of the Ring of Power under the golden dome in Montpeculiar has captured Brattleboro Rep. Emilie Kornheiser. The white-hot prospect of inheriting the chair of the House Ways and Means Committee seems to have blinded Rep. Kornheiser and consumed the integrity she brought with her...

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WSESD board recognizes ‘extraordinary achievements’ of teachers

Please share this proclamation from the Windham Southeast School District in honor of our teachers: In celebration of Teacher Appreciation Week, the WSESD school board takes great pleasure in recognizing the extraordinary achievements of our teaching staff. By any metric used, Vermont public schools traditionally rank among the best...

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Weights and measures

Our Vermont legislators recently commissioned a state-of-the-art study to investigate how best to apportion funds to schools equitably. Unfortunately for the students of Vermont, it detailed serious inequities in school funding. This study unveiled an outdated distribution of funds to its districts. For 20 years, the tax structure in Vermont has skewed away from fully supporting our most vulnerable students and families. Nearly 60 percent of Vermont schools have been underfunded, leading to higher tax rates, fewer educational resources, and...

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Let’s wait and see before we disrupt WSESD

Regarding the Windham Southeast School District withdrawal articles on the town ballots, I would like to wait a few more years to see how this works out before we disrupt everything again and start over. The COVID-19 pandemic makes it hard to compare anything, and so far the current board has been open, inclusive, effective, and progressive. As membership changes over time, the liabilities of a large board not closely tied to the local communities might be more clearly revealed.

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WSESD school district vote underway by mail; in-person voting June 30

Voters in Brattleboro, Dummerston, Guilford, and Putney: Approval of the proposed operating budget for WSESD means the tax rate will go up $0.013 per $1,000 of valuation - a little over a penny. This would result in a $13 annual tax increase on a homestead assessed at $100,000; $26 for a $200,000 homestead, $39 for $300,000, etc. The ballot language required by the Legislature reports a 4.5-percent increase in spending per equalized pupil, but this is not your school tax...

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WSSD urges immediate action on weighting study

Vermont lawmakers commissioned a research study in 2018 to determine whether the state's formula for weighting students with different needs and challenges should be structured in order to determine how much aid a school district receives. The report, prepared by researchers at the University of Vermont, Rutgers University, and the American Institutes for Research, recommends that students from lower income families and who are English-language-learners be weighted substantially more heavily than they are now. The Legislature is considering what to...

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Legislation left languishing for youth looking to stay in state

As the legislative session winds down, three bills that would support young Vermonters hoping to stay in Vermont after high school or college are being left behind. One bill that would support solid workforce development efforts is languishing, hoping for funding. Another that would provide modest tuition support for strong Vermont students to attend our state colleges and university is dead. And a third that would help fund community efforts to extend high-speed fiber to more homes and businesses will...

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