Candidate statement: Davis seeks seat on Brattleboro Town School Board

BRATTLEBORO — I have taught in Brattleboro public schools for over 25 years. Our two children went to Brattleboro elementary schools, Brattleboro Area Middle School, and Brattleboro Union High School.

Even though I retired from teaching in June of 2018, I continue to contribute to area schools and to speak out for quality public education. I am committed to promoting equal access to a quality education for children of all abilities. I have lived in this town for over 30 years and believe I have a sense of our community values.

During my career as a music educator for pre-kindergarten through grade 6, I also served as a Town Representative for District 3. I have participated in many informational, budget, and board meetings and have done my best to contribute to a fair and constructive dialogue.

As a member of the teacher's association, I served as a building representative for a number of years and did my best to be a problem solver when issues arose between staff and the administration.

I have closely followed the unfolding of Act 46. I have spoken out on issues that this law raised and have always been willing to take a public stand on the law's effects on our local schools.

I fully support the goals of Act 46: educational opportunity, financial efficiency, and decision-making transparency. However, I continue to question the way the law has been implemented. I would work to represent the best interests of Brattleboro schools - and the schools of our region - as the Legislature, the courts, and the Vermont Department of Education address the various issues.

On the one hand, this is a time of great uncertainty for school governance in our town and region. The Brattleboro Town School Board could be dissolved as soon as June 30 of this year.

On the other hand, depending on actions in both the Vermont courts and the state Legislature, the Brattleboro Town School Board could be given another year, or longer, to act in its current role. Even with a merger looming, there will be decisions to be made in the short term that will benefit our community.

I do not run for this office with a closed mind or a predetermined agenda.

In times of uncertainty, it is best to work with the changing situation and to listen to the community. I am a good listener, I know the issues, I think clearly, and I do a fairly good job of expressing myself. No matter where our schools are headed, it is important that public support and community involvement are maintained.

Over the last couple of years there has been a growing discrepancy between positions taken by the leadership of our current school board and the views expressed by Brattleboro voters in legally warned votes.

My main goal would be to align the direction of our schools with the values and desires of the people of Brattleboro, while meeting the many requirements of the laws and policy changes at the state level. Local involvement and oversight of our schools is essential to our democracy.

Our schools - and, of course, our children - are the most valuable asset we have as a community. We should be working together to realize the educational dreams of each and every student and family.

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