Letter: Merger plan good for students, region

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The school district merger plan is good for our students and our community. The letters in the Banner attest to this from a few different angles; but there are still some myths that persist about the plan, so clarity is needed.

Myth: The merger erodes local control.

Fact: The merger plan was crafted by our local boards, in our communities, with our schools in mind. It is the product of local control. If we reject the plan, the state will impose a merger on us; in other words, a vote "no" is the ultimate surrender of local control.

Myth: The merger is a plan to close schools.

Fact: The merger carefully protects small schools. Under the plan, the board cannot close a school in the first five-years. After the first five years, it would take a supermajority of 75 percent of the board to approve a closure, two years in a row!

Myth: This isn't good for students.

Fact: There are huge inefficiencies in the way we run our districts now. The education our students receive is ultimately directed by the policies and procedures implemented by our superintendent. The current structure, with its seven boards, requires no fewer than 14 different meetings to approve a policy, and that process can take months and even years! That means that innovation in student learning, professional development, school safety, parent involvement, etc.—all of which is governed by policy—can't happen in a smooth and efficient way. By merging, and streamlining that process, changes can be made that support student growth and proficiency.

Myth: The state won't really impose a merger.

Fact: Act 46 is law. The mandate for merging is law. Districts are being merged.

Fact: Our community will benefit from this merger. It is a good plan, that has been thoughtfully created. Take control, and vote yes on the Act 46 merger.

Christopher Murphy

Bennington

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