Friday June 14, 2013

When I ran for the (Cambridge Central School) board back in May 2012, I communicated that I would make informed decisions based on facts and encourage thinking out of the box. In addition, I would bring my experience, dedication, and commitment to work with the board, district and community. Also, I would call for a comprehensive look at our finances and request that a finance committee be comprised of all stakeholders with the mindset of continuous monitoring, collaborating, and accountability. Lastly, I would request increased communication planning and collaboration involving all stakeholders.

At this point, I feel that it is time for me to convey factual information to the community in regards to my journey thus far on the board. As promised, I hit the ground running by sharing information regarding grants as well as forwarding other district’s examples of communication plans for the district and the board to review and discuss further. In addition, I encouraged that we examine our current audit committee and possibly develop a budget committee to ensure we are in compliance as well as focused on stakeholders input.

It is my belief that because I offered ideas; based decisions upon available facts; upheld the previous board’s decision regarding the superintendent’s contract (when asked to change the vote without working with him); and voted the way that I believed was right for our children and our school district, I have been subject to many falsehoods.

Therefore, I would like to clarify the "rumors" some of which have been provided in written format and others I have heard via word of mouth:

Rumor 1: Dr. Kerri Brown would like to be the superintendent for CCS.

Answer 1: Not True

Rumor 2: Voters were told that the candidate who ran against the incumbent and one other current board member are relatives to Dr. Kerri Brown and therefore there would be a "family" as the majority of the board.

Answer 2: Not True

Rumor 3: There was a letter sent to the editor of the Bennington Banner "Canini was allegedly given a paper after the meeting stating his contract had been bought out."

Answer 3: Not True

Rumor 4: That two current Board members are "my puppets." That we always vote 3 -2 and that Dr. Kerri Brown tells them how to vote.

Answer 4: Not True

Rumor 5: It was articulated on more than one occasion that "Board Member(s)" voted for the budget and then campaigned against it.

Answer 5: To make it clear to everyone, Dr. Kerri Brown did not. Not True!

In closing, as a NY State School Board Member, there is a code of ethics that I (as well as my fellow Board members) must adhere to. I want to be clear that I have "based decisions upon available facts in each situation; to base each vote upon honest conviction, unswayed by partisan bias; thereafter, to abide by and uphold the final majority decision of the board" (extracted from NY State School Board Code of Ethics).

KERRI BROWN, Ph.D.

Cambridge

Kerri Brown is president of the CCS school board

My time at the BCIC

When I first came to the Bennington County Industrial Corporation, I was one of the typical teenagers at Mount Anthony Union High School looking for an opportunity to do community service as part of my curriculum. I had the same opinion as I know most young people do -- I thought Bennington’s economy had been hit hard by the recession, and as a result had slowed considerably. I had seen many retail businesses close, and had heard about many still struggling. I was looking forward to attending Middlebury College in the fall and experiencing something new. Yet now -- just four months later -- I’m starting to realize what I’m leaving behind.

One of the first things I did at the BCIC was call the board of directors and inform them about the upcoming board meeting. I was impressed to see a full two pages filled with local and regional industrial businesses that were part of the Vermont business world.

As I was welcomed into the business community and met many of the directors, I realized how strong the Bennington and Vermont economy actually is compared to other towns across the nation. These manufacturing businesses, as opposed to retail companies, lie at the heart of Bennington’s economy and are the foundation to its monetary and employment success in the midst of the nationwide recession in 2008. Global-Z, NSK Steering Systems America, and Plasan Carbon Composites all find their home on Shields Drive, an initiative led by the BCIC. K&E Plastics’ expansion plans, the Career Week held at the high school, these forward-thinking movements are all facilitated by the BCIC. As manufacturing drives the Vermont economy, the BCIC drives innovation and business availability, accounting for much of Bennington’s success.

I had the privilege of attending and speaking at the BCIC’s annual meeting last month, where business associates from across the state gathered and spoke. To me, as an aspiring writer planning to major in English, this was a unique experience that gave me an entirely different perspective on the world around me. Vermont, although it will always be the state of maple syrup and snowy winters, is also the state of cutting-edge manufacturing companies, progressive legislature, and bright business leaders who take into account education, green technology, and communal impact.

As I prepare for college this fall and approach my high school graduation, I look back on my time with Peter and Rob, who I worked closely with this past semester, and am overwhelmed by the difference it has made in my opinion of Bennington’s economy and its impact on my life. I am extremely grateful for the opportunities they have given me, allowing me to achieve this deeper understanding of the business world and my own role in it. I have begun to think about incorporating my own education, specifically writing, into this type of work environment, as well as what I can do to contribute to Vermont’s future financially, economically, and politically. For one thing, I finally understand the stock market.

ERIN WINSEMAN

Bennington