Monday December 31, 2012

To the North Bennington Graded School District voters, please join us in voting NO on Thursday, Jan. 3, 2013 to save our long standing public school. A no vote means the public school will remain open as a public school. A yes vote means you give authority to close our public school. Public education means a tuition free education for all students. It's a publicly funded system that is accountable to the citizens. A system in which parents and the general public can obtain information about the school and its activities and be scrutinized by the media.

It's publicly governed, allowing citizens to vote for the school board members, budgets, attend open meetings and know the specific costs of educating our students. A public school is legally required to accept resident students regardless of race, religion, special needs and abilities. The public school is required to hire qualified teachers who are licensed by the State of Vermont.

Voting in the affirmative, on January 3rd means handing over our North Bennington Graded School to the independent Village School, a school that does not have to adhere to any of the facts stated above. An independent school will not have oversight by the citizens.

Supporters of the independent school are saying there is an enrollment crisis looming. There is no crisis, projected enrollment numbers are stable. Closing the public school creates school choice allowing students to choose a public or private non-religious school in or outside North Bennington. This would be paid for by the North Bennington/Shaftsbury ID school district taxpayers. The State Board of Education has no plans to close or consolidate our school. We the people make that decision.

We strongly believe the public, including those with no children in the school, have the right to be involved in our local school and vote on our school officials, the budgets, attend open meetings, request information and ask questions.

Thursday is your chance to save our public school. Please vote no on Article A to close our public school, vote no on Article B to lease the school for $3.50 per square foot to a private school.

Vote at the Train Station from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. or call the Treasurer at 442-5547 for an absentee ballot.

JOYCE and JOHN SCAREY

Shaftsbury