The soul of North Bennington
The school in North Bennington is the oldest building still in use (as a school) today. It has undergone many changes to the size and shape from the original school built in 1870, but retains it character. The district annexed district one from Shaftsbury about 130 years ago. Many may not know that it was a K-12 school, or it had the gymnasium added in the beginning of the Depression. I have had four generations pass through it halls, my wife, five.
On March 6, the voters of the North Bennington School District approved four ballot articles to close the North Bennington Graded School, lease the building to the Village School Of North Bennington, and approve the budget for the upcoming year, for NBGS, and the VSNB, both the same. They passed by a 2 1Ž2 to 1 margin.
Due to some issues raised after that vote, but never mentioned in the 18 months prior, The state Board of Education tabled their vote on the issue in May. They have raised some questions that the independent study committee has answered. The state board asked for another vote, with clarification on the ballot articles. A second vote will be on Oct. 23.
The ISIS committee has never once said that North Bennington Graded School would close if it doesn’t become independent, as is being spread throughout the area by some. I know this to be a fact, from attending meetings in person, not depending on rumors. Facts get the facts. Anyone on the ISIS committee, or the Prudential Committee is always open to question.
This is only my opinion (everyone has one), but I am quite certain the Shaftsbury School District, or at least some of them, would like the kids in District 1 to be in their building. Everyone knows the State wants to consolidate many districts into a few. This would help them out. They are victims of shrinking enrollment as well.
If the school in North Bennington wasn’t active and thriving, it may make sense, but as I stated before this is the heart and soul of the community.
Please vote on the 23rd. Let’s get this behind us and move forward.
PETER S. NILES