Letter: Respect Windham's democratic vote
Editor of the Reformer,
I urge all the voters in the towns of Newfane, Brookline, Townshend, Jamaica and Windham to vote 'NO/OPPOSED' on the vote of June 11 to merge the town of Windham with the West River Modified Union Education District.
I am a resident of Jamaica but live in a corner of the town near Hamilton Falls that is cut off from the town of Jamaica and much closer to the town of Windham. Fortunately for me and my siblings and the other children who lived up here, Jamaica was willing to pay the tuition to the town of Windham so we could travel 3 miles to school instead of 15. I attended the Windham Elementary School through 8th grade and my 8th grade school year in Windham was the happiest year in school that I ever had. My daughter also attended the Windham School as a tuition student from Jamaica. In those days, geographical location was accepted as an important reality.
Over the years I have spent quite a bit of time at the Windham Elementary School as an educator and as an art mentor. In the last few years, I volunteered every week to work in Sally Newton's classroom. My sister and I also helped Sally put on two wonderful plays with the younger children. The Windham School is a treasure - it is small and that makes it remarkably adaptable and flexible and well able to take advantage of every opportunity for the children. It is a family, the children are known and loved. The Windham School has Gail Wyman on their staff. Gail is like a mother to so many of the children, a child forgets a sweatshirt and Gail is in her car driving to pick it up before the child has a chance to register she is getting cold. The two teachers, Sally Newton and Mr. PJ are talented and dedicated educators who work endlessly for the good of the children in their care. The community loves the school, the kids and parents love it ... the children do well on their test scores and do well in the rest of their education. What more could you ask of a school?
Windham is an isolated, rural hill town and that needs to be recognized, accepted and handled with realism and compassion. The Town of Windham and the Windham School Board are working very hard on dealing with the difficult issues they are facing and trying to find the best solutions for ALL the children in their care and they need the respect and cooperation of their neighbors in other towns.
Please give the Windham School and the Windham community the respect of honoring their democratic vote to not merge with the WRMUED at this time. Please vote 'NO/OPPOSED' to a forced merger this summer and avoid unintentionally helping to bring to an end the carefully built and lovingly maintained community that is the Windham School.
Sarah M. Peck
Jamaica, June 6
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