Letter: A view of the vote from Woodford

Posted
As the Woodford representative for the past three years on the Act 46 merger committee, I would like to address a few issues that need critical attention as we consider how to vote on Tuesday.

When those of us on the Woodford School Board craft annual budgets and provide input toward program initiatives, we are acutely aware of our small stature. It becomes more difficult every year to assure resources needed for standard academic programing, yet we have gone beyond that to pilot a number of programs later adopted by larger schools. The first to provide full day kindergarten, laptops for every student, and a week-long residential science experience as examples, Woodford School has shown itself to be a worthy investment. We are now forced to consider that the investment in our small school may be in jeopardy, if we choose to remain independent, rejecting a merger with larger districts.

I see several benefits to merging our district with others in the Supervisory Union to become a single unified district. I see the opportunity to more easily draw in specialized services we need, already contracted with our larger neighbors. I see the possibility of increasing our student count, as the school choice option is part of the Articles of Agreement, and there are families eager to participate in the small school environment we offer. I also see the opportunity to continue operating Woodford School into the future, if we join the proposed merged district already approved by the State of Vermont.

I love our small school. It is worth spending the hours and the dollars involved to support its unique programs. I am not so certain that Vermont state government values our school the same way, focusing instead on staffing to student ratios as a measure of efficiency.

Woodford School is a unique learning environment with a small enough student body to be able to pilot new programs and offer fulfilling experiences in physical education, academics, and family connections. Our voice will be heard in a unified district as it is presently on the Mt. Anthony Board. We will continue to enrich students in our small school traditions as part of a unified district.

I urge Woodford voters to vote Tuesday, to approve a unified (merged) district so that we can move forward, offering all our students the best we can give them into the future.

Dick Frantz

Member Act 46 committee

Woodford School Board


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