Letter: Weakening Local Control

To the Editor:

I want to express my utter disappointment in the attempt by the Vermont House Committee on Education to railroad through H883, a bill that would in essence take away from voters local control and, therefore, democratic power. Taking away local control from towns and pitting larger towns against smaller towns with regard to funding public education is a decision that should not be taken lightly, quickly or at the end of one legislative session without fully informing and vetting the concept with residents of the state.

It is clear to me that a primary objective of this bill is to design a way ultimately to close small schools (a simple way to save money) and therefore make the administration of education simpler for those who are the furthest away from the actual work. The objectives touted by the proponents of this bill are not backed up with evidence that convinces me otherwise. My representative stated clearly that this bill is about saving money, not about equity.

This bill would weaken our educational system by becoming too big to manage well. You can be sure costs will go up as more middle management staff are hired. It would weaken the involvement of community members, because their votes would be less strong and they would participate less. It would weaken parental involvement in education because many parents would be even farther away from their children’s schools. It would pit town against town for education funding. It would weaken our democracy. I, for one, will note and remember how my senators and representative vote on this issue when I vote in November, using the little bit of local control I have left.

Jacqueline McCuin