We are in an uncertain time, and in such a time it is natural for us to look to preserve what is essential to work toward a more secure future. We look immediately to our loved ones and families, of course. This is the most basic concern. We may also look to what in our community we wish to preserve. As members of a community, many of us are wearing masks to protect our neighbors when we are out in public areas. Although Green Up Day will not be formally organized this year, many of us have been picking up litter in order to preserve our natural environment. Many have moved online and continued to advocate city policy in line with our values.

In this time of uncertainty, as my college students have returned home and my daughter has continued her third-grade learning from home, we have found ourselves in close quarters. It’s given us a chance to work on our communal living skills, to be sure! And many of these skills stem from our individual responsibility toward participating in a functioning household and to preserving the peace. As a result, during our relaxed times, we can truly feel the value of family.

I see my responsibility toward South Burlington, our larger family and community, in the same way. In March, although I expressed my disapproval of the school district’s plans to rebuild, I reaffirmed my commitment to a functioning school system and the value of education to a fully functioning society. In our current circumstances, with the stay-at-home order still in place, we all now know how much our schools do for our fellow citizens every day. We see school buses in our neighborhoods for the daily delivery of meals and classroom materials. Even parents who are struggling the most with this exercise are doing our best to second our students’ teachers as our children continue their learning from home, and we can see how much goes into teaching our children every day.

During this time of uncertainty, it is not in our community’s interest to devalue our schools. We need them now more than ever and we will need them from now into the future. They are not a luxury. They are a need, a basic need to society, as important as food, water, clothing, and shelter are to an individual. When voting “no” on the buildings last March, I voted “yes” on the teachers. They are providing an essential service for a more secure future for all of us, and I will vote “yes” again on May 28. Thank you for thinking of South Burlington as your family when you vote on our school budget.

Meaghan Emery

South Burlington

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