Letter to the editor: Equity for preschool student? I don't think so!

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Equity for preschool student? I don't think so!

Vermont pays for preschool students from ages 3-5 to attend preschool—IN VERMONT! But what about the students in Guildhall, Maidstone, Brunswick and other border towns that do not have access to an accessible preschool program except in New Hampshire?

Yes, there is a headstart preschool in Gilman. There is a public preschool in Canaan and Concord. Is any parent going to travel a minimum of 30 minutes each way four times a day and put over 80 miles on their car? They certainly could not work and provide this program. Most Northeast Kingdom parents work and shop in New Hampshire. Also, our students attend schools in New Hampshire.

Wouldn't be beneficial that our students attend preschool with peers they will go to school with in kindergarten?

I have spoken with legislatures. Some didn't realize preschool students could only attend VT programs. Others say — begin your own program. We only have about 4 total students in these towns. How do you do that? I have spoken to our legislators and the Secretaty of Education and they say it is an easy fix. The legislature needs to allow vouchers for these towns so preschool students in the Northeast Kingdom can attend preschool where parents work and day care is available.

A dairy farmer has had to pay for two years of preschool, when preschool is available state-wide for other students. Is this equitable? No! Is this discrimination against preschool students in the Northeast Kingdom? Yes! I thought the legislature would fix this problem this year, but no! If I were a parent in these border towns, I would be sure that I contacted the Civil Rights about discrimination for preschool students. As a Guildhall Board member I am talked out, trying to get this changed. Maybe this letter will help change this crazy law.

Again, the legislature does not think about the people that are affected by the laws they make—obviously if they don't even realize what they pass as a law. The most economically depressed area of Vermont does not have access to preschool where the tuition is paid—the students who need it the most!

— Marie Fay, Guildhall School Board Guildhall


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