The Readers Write

Vote for Act 46
Next Tuesday, June 7th, we have an important special election. For the many advantages of Act 46 to be realized, we need to approve a change in our school structure and governance. From a supervisory union made up of five separate districts, Shelburne’s school would become part of a single, unified Champlain Valley School District.

In addition to significant tax incentives, this new district structure would enable more efficient and effective sharing of educational resources among schools and, most important, enable administrators to dedicate their time to our children rather than prepare for monthly meetings with Shelburne’s current seven school directors. On the new CVSD board, Shelburne interests would be represented by three directors to be elected on Tuesday.

While all candidates for the three seats have strong qualifications, Tim Williams, running for the two-year seat, stands out. A lifelong resident, graduate of Shelburne schools, and a local business owner, Tim is an active, engaged parent of two children. During his years of service on the Shelburne School Board, Tim has led the school renovation that will start construction this summer, the playgrounds update and expansion (winning substantial grant funding), and represented Shelburne on the Act 46 study committee. With our votes, Shelburne will be fortunate to have Tim Williams representing us.

As I will be voting in favor of the Articles of Merger, and for Tim Williams for Director, most of all I urge all interested Shelburne residents to vote.
Robert M. Finn

 

Support for Lenes for school board
Joan Lenes: a community member, a Vermont legislature, a CVU school board member, a CSSU board member to name a few of her contributions.  Joan would like to be a member of the new CSSU consolidated board for the two  year term.

Joan is highly qualified for this position. Her experience and her hands-on participation have made a difference in Shelburne and in Vermont. She is a problem solver; she is a peacemaker; she is innovative and creative and will help the new board function at a very high level.

As we move into the new picture of consolidation, Joan would bring the expertise   of an experienced board member as well as someone who can build on the rich history of both the high school and local boards.

Above all, Joan is student-centered. What is best for kids is always in Joan’s mind and her lens always blends that value with her experience.

Please join me in voting for Joan Lenes on June 7th.
Connie Metz, Shelburne

 

Joan Lenes for consolidated school board
Dear Fellow Shelburne Residents,

We have a vote upon us for the consolidated school board which is a 2-year term. I hope you will join me in voting for Joan Lenes on June 7th. I have had the pleasure of working with Joan in the past on school related issues. Joan’s commitment to our youth and our community is unsurpassed. She works tirelessly as a team builder to make educated, informative decisions that will benefit our children and the community we live in. Joan is dedicated to providing our children with the most positive experience while they are educated in our schools.
Please consider Joan on June 7th.
Thank you,
Amy DuBrul

 

Kesha Ram for Lt. Governor
I have had the pleasure and privilege of knowing Kesha Ram since she was a student at UVM, where I am a professor. She has consistently demonstrated an intelligent, reasoned and caring approach in her avocation for public service. Kesha’s voice is one that we need now more than ever amongst our leaders. She would bring a wealth of experience, knowledge and commitment to the office of Lieutenant Governor. She has thought carefully about how she would approach the duties of that office. She would be a convener for advocates of policy reform.  She would speak out on behalf of those Vermonters whose voices are not always heard in decision-making circles. She would chart a realistic and achievable reform path through the sometimes obtuse and slow-moving bureaucracy in Montpelier.

As a result of her diverse background, Kesha knowns how to listen to people and to understand their perspectives. I was so impressed by the graceful and articulate way she interacted with Shelburne residents last week before and during last week’s Lieutenant Governor forum in the Town Hall. Especially given the tone of politics today, we need people like Kesha in positions of authority. She represents a brighter future for all of us. I hope that the residents of Shelburne, and Vermonters from all over the state, will support her candidacy for Lieutenant Governor in the Democratic primary in August and in the general election of November.
Edward McMahon, Shelburne

 

A good-bye to Shelburne
Farewell Shelburne!
We moved in as kids
And never looked back,
We met our neighbors along
the cul de sac
Through thick and thin
they were by our side
And became more like family
as time marched by.
We will miss Mt. Steeplebush
And Ruby on parade
Pot luck picnics and
lemonade in the shade
When Carolyn Blum
came into this world,
A new set of friends,
young and old, unfurled
She learned her ABCs at SCC, SCS and CVU
Thank you teachers! You were a success,
And we’re indebted to you!
Just when that ‘project’ was done
And we had time to look up
The Shelburne News had a post:
Come help all our pups!
We answered the call
And met a great group of folks
And together we forged a dog park that boasts
of a great little vibe for our four-legged tribe

The SBPA is another great org
That brings people to together
To meet and to share
The next best thing that’s in the air
So many great minds do business right here
I have really enjoyed the camaraderie there
And so many others we’ve
Met through the years
By myriad connections that form on the way
We’ll miss all those faces we see every day!
Wednesday night rides, Modern Nature New Years,
golfing and walking, Loose Change in our ears…
Shelburne, you’re a town
where the people
Are fierce yet so kind
A quaint little town with a progressive mind
A gem in the valley,
A place in our heart
Farewell Shelburne!
It’s time that we part!

—Sara and Jay Blum

Support for Tim Williams
Tim Williams for Champlain Valley School District Director

For the entire fifty plus years of his life, Tim Williams has lived, worked in and contributed to our town. He has run his business and raised his family here, all the while devoting countless volunteer hours for the last five-years as a member of our school board. He attended Shelburne schools and now his children do. He was instrumental in helping us navigate the much-needed upgrades to the school and one of three members to the critical and complicated CSSU ACT 46 Study Committee. There are still numerous challenges ahead and Tim’s experience, intelligence and common-sense approach is exactly what we need to navigate the myriad of matters we continually face. He knows the issues and is ready to dive into the difficult work ahead. It is because of the deep devotion to our town by people like Tim that we can be proud to say and fortunate to send our children to one of the finest schools in the state. I urge you to vote for Tim for Champlain Valley School Director on June 7th.
Ron Bouchard

 

Support for Tim Williams
There will be a vote on June 7 to approve the proposed merger under Act 46 of the current school districts comprising the Chittenden South Supervisory Union. Concurrent with that vote are elections for positions on the new school board that will be formed if the proposal passes. I am supporting Tim Williams for a two-year term on the new Champlain Valley School District (CVSD) representing Shelburne. Tim grew up in Shelburne and has served on the SCS board since 2011, where I had the pleasure of serving with him. With his children currently attending our schools, Tim is particularly attuned to the issues facing our education system. As an SCS board member, Tim was integral to the process that resulted in the passage of the bond issue that will provide much needed upgrades to our school. For the past year he has also served on the Act 46 study committee that formulated the merger proposal. Under Act 46, local school districts were given the opportunity to merge in a way that best suits them and I believe that is what this proposal does.

Tim has managed to do all of these things while running several successful businesses here in town. And of course, he’s also responsible for the resurrection of Archie’s. I believe that Tim’s experience as a business owner will serve our communities well as we work to consolidate seven school boards into one CVSD board and to manage a combined $70 million budget. At the same time, I know he is focused on the increased educational opportunities that the merged entity will bring. Tim is the right person for the job and I hope to have the opportunity to serve with him again. I urge the voters of Shelburne to support Tim and to vote Yes on the Act 46 school governance merger proposal.
Russ Caffry
Candidate for the three-year term on the CVSD board

 

CCSU Act 46 Study Committee voting yes
CSSU Act 46 Study Committee members all will be voting “yes” on June 7th.

In September, a working group formed to study school governance consolidation in Chittenden South Supervisory Union. Consisting of members appointed by the school boards of Williston, Hinesburg, Shelburne, Charlotte, and St. George, the committee considered the question: Would uniting the separate school districts into a single entity be in the best interests of those communities and their students?

The study questions and the committee did not emerge in a vacuum. In April of 2015, the State Legislature passed what is commonly known as Act 46. Act 46 invites school boards of the state to look into the efficiencies and educational benefits that might result from merging school districts.

CSSU’s Act 46 Study Committee began work with a good understanding that our communities that make up the Chittenden South Supervisory Union already work together closely. After analyzing many aspects of the question — from fiscal issues to educational benefits — the committee unanimously supported recommending to voters approval of the unification of districts into one combined entity to be known as the Champlain Valley School District.

The most significant visible change would occur at the school board level. The seven currently existing school boards would be replaced with one 12-member board, with representation distributed across communities proportionally by population. Another obvious change would be voting on one combined budget, similar to what we do now with Champlain Valley Union High School (CVU).

The Committee’s website, http://act46.cssu.org, provides greater detail from the study. In summary, three of the many factors leading to the study committee’s recommendation can serve as examples of study tasks and findings.

First, the financial incentives put forth in Act 46 encourage school districts to vote by June 30, 2016 for maximum benefits. If the proposal is approved June 7th, the state would grant a reduction in our property tax rates for the first five years after unification. The reductions would start at $.10 and decrease $.02 a year until they expire. In addition the state would make available a grant of $150,000.00 to help pay for transition costs.

Second, additional efficiencies can arise from unification. CSSU’s districts currently share governing of our high school and central office services. A third of our students already attend school in a unified district, as students of CVU High School. In addition, upwards of 70% of our education budgets are already spent in a coordinated fashion either as part of the CVU budget or for shared services at the CSSU level (much of this coordinated CSSU spending is required under state law). The committee found that by taking the next step and uniting, an additional $1.5 million dollars could be realized over five years.

Third, our students’ educational programs can benefit from the flexibility and predictability in planning allowed by uniting into a larger district. Through unification, our principals gain more time to focus on instructional leadership as some of their current activities focused on operations can be better coordinated through a central office. Additionally, a larger system can absorb changes in populations more easily than a smaller system. Unification of our schools at the board level does not mean that any actual schools are going to close. Instead, unification allows for better sharing of staff and materials across town lines, allowing all schools to benefit from shared resources.

For more information, please visit: act46.cssu.org. Also, look for information on meetings and details on Front Porch Forum.

Not only is Vermont recognized as a leading state for public schools, our towns have some of the best public schools in Vermont. We believe that by uniting our districts we can continue to improve on an already great system. We, the undersigned, are all voting “yes” on June 7th.

The Members of the CSSU Act 46 Study Committee:
Mark McDermott (Charlotte)
Erik Beal (Charlotte)
Colleen MacKinnon (Hinesburg)
Keith Roberts (Hinesburg)
Russ Caffry (Shelburne)
Dave Connery (Shelburne)
Tim Williams (Shelburne)
Kelly Bowen (St. George)
Kevin Mara (Williston)
Karen Maklad (Williston)
Gene McCue (Williston)
Jeanne Jensen (Williston)

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