To the Editor:

I am going to need school reps familiar with school logistics, population numbers, education law, etc., to vet this idea, but with the budget getting voted down, I thought the timing was ripe for us to explore what’s next. 

Here is option one for a redesign:

• Two valley schools, perhaps Warren and Moretown, and Thatcher Brook house pre-K through second grade.

• Option two: Two valley schools, perhaps Waitsfield and Fayston, house grades three through six. Waterbury and Duxbury grades three through six are housed at Crossett Brook. And all district students in grades seven through 12 are at Harwood. (A Crossett/Harwood swap may also be explored, in which Crossett becomes grades nine through 12 if there’s not enough room at Harwood).

Why this is attractive:

1) Faculty and staff costs are the largest chunk of the budget by far. Cost savings of having larger cohorts cuts down on the number of faculty needed and flexibility to adjust class sizes for more equity. 

2) No building necessary. 

3) No small schools need to close. We save communities. We preserve property values. 

4) Our kids come together as larger cohorts much sooner.

5) Thatcher Brook doesn’t burst at the seams, and has room to expand.

6) Shorter commute for all the youngest students and community members on the fringes. 

7) With our day care model (option one) and the room in our buildings to offer younger ages, we will attract more families to our district. This would be a lifeline for struggling families and would encourage small families to have more babies. This boosts enrollment, which increases property value and increases district revenue. Maybe even lower taxes.

Potential downsides:

1) Some folks really want to keep a pre-K-6 model in their town in part for community identity.

2) Slightly longer commute for some students in grades three through eight and for community members. 

If you like this idea, please share with others, reach out to board members and district administrators, post on social media, and please free to start a discussion with me with your two cents.

At the very least, I would like a motion by a board member to have this model explored. Let’s work together, regardless of where this goes, no matter what your opinions are of redesign.

Dan Mitchell


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