School budget should be
voted on via
Australian Ballot

Editor of the Reformer:

On the night of Feb. 11, 86 people voted on BUHS District #6’s $27.7 million dollar school budget at the district’s annual meeting, strategically held at the gymnasium at 7 p.m. As the Reformer’s Howard Weiss-Tisman recently informed us, that is less than 1 percent of the 14,948 registered voters in the District #6 member towns of Brattleboro, Dummerston, Guilford,Putney and Vernon.

This is a sleeping civil rights issue. It’s time for all of us wake up and admit the fact that there is a lack of equal opportunity to vote on, by far and away, our largest public expenditure. It’s time to provide a voting process that matches the structure of peoples actual, busy, lives. Time to stop shutting homebound citizens out, etc. It’s time for the BUHS District #6 school budget to be voted on in the voting booth, by Australian Ballot, optimizing opportunity for voter participation. Keeping the polls in each member town open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. would provide equal opportunity and access to a much larger number of citizens. It is after all the voters who are empowered by law to decide (by voting) the amount of funding for their local schools. It is the School Board’s role to prepare a budget for voter consideration.

Let’s stop justifying the current method with indefensible statements such as, "Well, people just don’t show up ... that’s their problem." Phooey. Let’s stand up for equal voting opportunity and access. Local political leaders and school officials should be leading the way on this issue, protecting and promoting the interests and rights of all voters.

Jim Curley,

Guilford, Feb. 12

Pedestrian safety and the reality of Vermont

Editor of the Reformer:

Yesterday I nearly killed a pedestrian -- again.

It’s 2014 and ice covers roads, paths and breakdown lanes. Only Vermont’s few paved roads of kind of cleared; black ice and blown snow cause unexpected hazards everywhere.

Vermont weather is, at best, uneven. Life goes on. We drive, walk or cycle to reach our goals. No subways or local trains alter vehicles or feet; indeed, many of us cannot consider "Hop on a bus, Gus." There is no bus. So we share the roads, sort of. Vermonters drive peering out for bearings; we hope to stay on roads, avoiding cliffs, ravines or, heaven forbid, pedestrians. Our studded tires crackle on surfaces hopefully diminishing, in my case, near vehicular homicides. And that means anybody who walks our towns, roads and villages. While some areas boast sidewalks, they are often iced or snowed over.

Children straggle to school along the roads. We drivers pass them fearfully. Will we strike one down having lost control on ice? A horrible thought.

So, what to do? Here are some of my thoughts. Wear bright clothing or reflective gear. The walker, whether child or adult, might sport a neon scarf, hat or arm band as do the cyclists. The cars might keep headlights on at all times to warn both other vehicles and pedestrians of their approach. Sidewalks could be kept clear as required in other states so that foot travel is safe -- that is, if there are sidewalks to clear.

Black, navy, tan, brown and even darkest red are practical and discrete. They don’t show dirt. They just don’t show.

Anne WS Montgomery,

Dummerston, Feb. 12