Guilford board votes to cut middle school

GUILFORD - School board members on Thursday adopted a budget that closes the town's middle school and sends seventh- and eighth graders to Brattleboro this fall.

The $2.9 million budget for the 2013-14 school year still is subject to Town Meeting approval. Also voters will consider a separate article asking whether Guilford should tuition its students to Brattleboro Area Middle School.

But Dan Systo, the Guilford board's chairman, said he has come to the conclusion that students would have more opportunities in Brattleboro.

"It's about the educational benefits that we feel BAMS can provide to our students," Systo said.

There also is a financial benefit: Officials say it would have cost $80,000 to $90,000 more to keep seventh- and eighth-graders in Guilford next year.

However, there are job cuts associated with the move: The budget eliminates the full-time equivalent of 2.6 teaching positions and one para-educator position while also reducing spending on specialist positions in art, music, physical education and the library.

The middle-school agreement with Brattleboro includes a deal that caps Guilford's tuition payments for the first four years. After that, it's expected that Guilford will join the district.

The board has scheduled an informational session for parents at 6:30 p.m. Monday at Guilford Central School. BAMS administrators will be present to answer questions.

"We encourage everyone to come to Monday's meeting," Systo said.

Mike Faher can be reached at or 802-254-2311, ext. 275.


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