On March 5 voters in Bennington, North Bennington, Pownal, Shaftsbury and Woodford will be asked to vote on the budget that will support the operation of the Mount Anthony High School and the Mount Anthony Middle School.

Each year it is the responsibility of the Mount Anthony Board, with the help of the administration and teachers in each school, to present to the voters a budget that represents their best effort to combine the educational needs of the schools and the economic reality of our community. As costs continue to rise the schools have a responsibility to meet their contractual obligations, maintain their facilities and meet the needs of the students. If the schools are to meet the expectations of students, parents and the community it must have the staff and materials to do this.

During the past several years the number of students who need more than the regular classroom can offer has increased. With this increase has come added costs. In the past schools have relied on federal grants, state aid and other sources of income to offset the added cost. Unfortunately much of this aid is no longer available and now must be taxed to the local property owner.

Also in recent years the schools have fully realized their responsibility to give each student the tools he or she needs to succeed in school and in what they do after school. The administration and teachers are committed to increase the reading and math skills of all students. To do this each school has instituted programs to help students who do not meet the standards set by the state. Literacy teachers and math specialist have been hired to work with students and fellow teachers to improve these skills. There are several programs and classes available to students who have difficulty learning in a traditional classroom environment.

We can all be proud of what our schools have accomplished during the past few years. Our graduates now attend some of the most competitive and prestigious colleges including Harvard, Princeton and Williams. More students who are taking the Advance Placement exams are scoring high enough so that they receive college credit. Students are doing community work both here in Vermont and in central American countries. Our graduation rate has increased, attendance has improved and atmosphere within the schools has clearly shown that students recognize the importance of getting an education. There is always more to do and to do that we need your support of the budget. Please vote YES on the MAU budget.

TIM HOLBROOK

MAU Finance Committee