Why I'll vote for the Village School
One of the issues many people are concerned about in North Bennington is the loss of the public school in favor of one that is independent of the public school structure.
The independent school will still be responsible for meeting most state education requirements, based on the per-pupil state support of education.
This is similar to the obligations of other schools who receive tuition-paying students from other districts, such as Burr and Burton and the Mountain School.
I believe much of the resistance to this independent school initiative comes from discomfort and suspicion related to the replacement of a "public" school, and our historic understanding of that term. Many people have worked for over a century to guarantee a free, high-quality public education to all children, and see that institution as critical to the democratic strength of our country.
Like so many things in our current age, the original centuries-old concept of the public school and its governance has been turned on its head by the events of the least few decades. Instead, in a commitment to provide the best possible education, we have substituted the commitment to provide an education at the lowest possible cost. Instead of a school system that meets local needs, we have substituted more and more distant hierarchies of educational responsibility, making it impossible for educational administrators to listen and respond to local needs.
The Village School will be responsible to both the existing Prudential Committee and the budget approval process controlling our current school.
Within those constraints, it will also be able to respond to the needs and aspirations of the community. It is that direct connection to the community that makes the proposed Village School of North Bennington closer to the traditional public school than the one we presently support. That is why I'll vote yes to establish the Village School on January third.