I believe Act 46 has created a crisis for the towns of Mount Holly and Ludlow. We need to look at this challenge as an opportunity to evaluate what matters most to us. We can embrace this as a chance to bring forth an independent school that builds off the strong legacy of Black River High School and utilizes the many civic and natural resources we have at our fingertips. We can honor and respect the past while innovating for the future.
I support the option of School Choice 7-12 in both towns for the following reasons:
It gives our communities the best opportunity to rebuild our high school with the freedom of an independent model.
I value a local option for educating my kids.
I respect the fact that some families wish to provide their children with opportunities in other communities.
Every child has different educational needs.
School choice coupled with an innovative, independent high school would be a draw to our towns and people would likely move here to provide these opportunities for their children, thus increasing our schools’ enrollments beginning at the elementary level.
Hold Harmless Protection
The independent model would mean no longer fearing the loss of our “Hold Harmless” protection and the risk of even more cuts to programs already suffering financially. The implications of a “NO” vote are that the fate of Black River High School will no longer be in the hands of a local school board. If the State Board of Education re-districts us, we will be at the mercy of default merger agreements and articles of agreement that we will no longer have input in. This will affect our representation on elementary school boards as well. While the State cannot force the closure of Black River, the school board of a newly merged district (i.e. the Green Mountain Unified School District) certainly could.
People who are interested in learning more or contributing to the process of establishing an independent school are encouraged to come to the ongoing meetings taking place on Tuesdays at 6:30 p.m. at the Black River High School Library. The Black River Independent School Committee (BRISC) also has a Facebook page @blackriverindependentschool and a website: www.blackriveracademy.org.
There is hard work being done in the spirit of renewal and community and a “YES” vote will ensure that these efforts can continue.