As a voter and parent in the North Bennington Graded School District (NBGS), I have serious concerns regarding the SVSU’s inaction regarding the implementation of special ed. services (SPED) for the formation of the Independent School in North Bennington. The tireless efforts of the Village School’s (NBVS) committee have been thwarted time and again by unresponsive state and local political entities who, either by design or unprofessionalism, have placed their own agenda ahead of the needs of students. The SVSU is responsible for managing SPED services for all component districts including North Bennington, yet have not only failed to facilitate the successful transition to the independent school, but continue to fail to answer basic questions as to why they have not fulfilled their obligation in this matter.
At the June 21 meeting of the SVSU Board, I posed questions to board members regarding the SVSU’s failure to assist the NBGS in the development of a SPED contract for the NBVS. SVSU Board Chair Oller declined to discuss the matter; rather, she deferred to look into the matter and respond within a week. Now, over a month has passed with no response. In addition, I have yet to receive any response to a follow-up request sent via email on July 6.
Apparently, having succeeded in ignoring their way out of legal obligations before, the SVSU is hoping the strategy will continue to work.
This lack of responsiveness and unprofessionalism is unconscionable. Vermont rightly prides itself as being independent in spirit -- it is part of what makes this a special place to live. The actions of the State Board of Ed and SVSU constitute nothing less than an abuse of power, the sort of naked contempt for the wishes of constituents that characterizes the most corrupt machine-style politics that is common elsewhere. Board members are refusing to fulfill their legal obligations to a component district. The SVSU’s inaction regarding this matter is, in effect, an illegal nullification of the expressed and legally voted upon wishes of North Bennington residents. This is not what Vermont is about.