Letter: Windham should fight to stay independent
Editor of the Reformer,
Thank you Chris Mays for the article and the points mentioned ("West River Education Board pushes for votes on merger," May 22). In the years of merger meetings in the run up to Act 46, merger and consolidation have been sold as better educational opportunities for students, equity of opportunity and a means of reducing education cost. So let's consider that in the case of Windham Elementary School.
Cost: in this, the first merged boards budget where they prepared the budget for the four districts who voted for merger, the budget is up 4.5 percent. When I asked why, the answer was the costs for repairs to the schools including the high school, which were long overdue. If we, in Windham, are forced into this district our budget will be added on (if the voters approve that article). The cost in the other towns will stay level for two of five towns, increase by 1 penny for the other two of five and decrease by 30 cents per 100 for Windham.
The question is, what about transportation? Not just in Windham, but elsewhere? Children who choose to go to a school other than their home school are not guaranteed bus service. The district has never managed the bus service for Windham and mostly rolls their eyes and waves off the residents' concerns. It currently takes one hour each day in reasonable weather to transport the four students who regularly ride the bus to Leland & Gray. (Thursday was) "Step Up Day" and we will be sending an additional 10 students to the High School/Middle School. The schedule is to start a half hour earlier... at 6 a.m. The increased costs for transportation have not been thought about yet, according to the West River Modified Union Education District. The full day "free" pre-school may hire an additional teacher or para who will not be free — another as yet undetermined cost. These and many other issues have brought us to fighting with everything we have to remain independent. As of now, the vote is Tuesday (June 11) and we ask our neighbors in Brookline, Jamaica, Newfane and Townshend to vote NO to forced merger for these reasons as well as to honor our 2017 vote to not merge.
Windham, June 5
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