Centralized school district will lead to homogenized schools

BRATTLEBORO — I am grateful that The Commons published Olga Peters' article informing our community about Vermonters' longstanding opposition to school consolidation, especially the forced consolidation being ordered by the State Board of Education in towns like ours where voters overwhelmingly rejected it.

I am concerned that the quotes of mine that were chosen for the article might lead someone to think that my confidence in the teachers and staff in our community schools means I believe centralization will not harm our children. This is not my view.

If the legal appeal of the forced mergers is not upheld, I believe a centralized school district of Brattleboro, Guilford, Dummerston, and Putney will lead to homogenized schools that will quickly lose their individual character and responsiveness to our community values.

Should the legal appeal fail and the Legislature allow the State Board to impose decisions that are the legislators' Constitutional responsibility, I hope that full engagement of teachers, parents, and community members in the planned leadership councils will help push back on this inevitable bureaucratization, but that is in no way certain.

If these mergers are imposed, creation of these councils needs to be the first work of the transition board.

Thanks for sharing the clarification of my views.

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