As a result of an exploration process at the direction of the Addison Central Supervisory Union Board, the school boards of the seven member elementary school districts agreed to form a study committee to consider the question: Is it in the best interests of the students and citizens of our community to reorganize local school districts as a Regional Educational District (RED)?
The seven schools serve the communities of Bridport, Cornwall, Middlebury, Ripton, Salisbury, Shoreham and Weybridge.
Complete details on the formation and function of the committee can be found online at http://acsustudycommittee.org. The mission statement describes the philosophy and preferred methodology.
"The committee exists to provide leadership to our seven communities and school districts as they explore options and make informed decisions about the future of our schools," said Rick Scott, committee chairman. "And to ensure that educational quality and access for our communities' children, as well as fiscal responsibility and community values remain central to the discussion; engage members of the public in a way that fosters informed decisions and community ownership of outcomes; develop a recommendation based on community input, as well as data and information collected by professional analysts, within the constraints of current law. Data should include, but may not be limited to, educational, fiscal, and demographic analyses; and report to the commissioner of education and ensure a community vote, within a reasonable time period."
Scott also said the study committee has undertaken this responsibility in what we feel is a thoughtful and deliberate way.
"The members have agreed that our recommendation will be developed from the values and desires of our communities. To that end, our most important role will be to engage the whole community in discussion regarding the future of education. We intend to fulfill that responsibility with inclusiveness and transparency," Scott added.
In coming months community members will be invited to share concerns and visions for the future of education, including a discussion of possible frameworks for governance that could provide the best path forward.
"We will need volunteers and participants to ensure that the public engagement process is as inclusive and comprehensive as possible," Scott noted. "We have established a Web site http://acsustudycommittee.org to educate, inform and most importantly provide an ongoing forum for all interested parties to express their opinion, share information and ask questions. At the Web site, you will find, among other things research materials, data, reports and links to informative web sites."
The study committee meets monthly on the third Wednesday of each month. The meetings are open to the public; the agenda and location are posted at the Web site, as are minutes of previous meetings. All interested people are welcome.
"On public education," Sacott said, "Thomas Jefferson said, 'If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be.' Every single person is affected by the quality of the education that we offer our children. Well-educated children become productive, self sufficient, tax paying citizens. Our collective futures are tied to public education. Please take this, and every opportunity to become involved in shaping the future, join the discussion."