Do we want to lose school choice?

Do we want to lose school choice?

Editor or the Reformer:

I feel compelled to speak out in response to a recent article ("Already a strong union," Jan. 20), recounting an interview with Sean Murphy about Act 46 and its impacts on our towns. Mr. Murphy's talking points are inaccurate and one might think inappropriate; his capacity as an official is that of board member representing a region, not an individual town. His experience, knowledge and most importantly, his fiduciary responsibility, is focused on what is best for that regional entity, not what's best for the individual feeder towns.

There is much to debate, but I will focus on only three points for now. While the doom and gloom numbers pertaining to population change may have some merit on a global scale, they may not on a micro scale. Student populations in our local schools are not all dropping, and for those that are decreasing, the trend is not as great as suggested. Secondly, the "savings" from the state incentives for an accelerated merger are grossly exaggerated. Put into context, the average annual savings for a homestead property valued at $200,000 is approximately $80. That's right, only $80. The state incentives have to be paid for, so who will do this? We the taxpayers. This will result in higher education tax rates, which is notT a "savings" in my book. Lastly, the most important issue to be determined here in the Windham Southeast Supervisory Union before getting too far down the accelerated merger road discussion is the following: "Does Vernon Want to Lose School Choice?" Most likely with any merger option, but most certainly with the accelerated merger option, Vernon will lose school choice. This is a major issue for Vernon and their citizens, as many people have chosen and continue to choose Vernon as their hometown for the ability to choose where their children go to school and to have town funds pay for some or all of that cost. Without that selling point, Vernon will continue to see a decline in the median sales price of their homes.

I am serving my seventh year on the Dummerston School Board governing the school where my children attend. The views expressed here are mine and not necessarily those of the board.

Dan Normandeau, Dummerston, Jan. 20


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