Thursday, September 27, 2007

Open Letter to Burlington School Board: Reaffirm Commitment to Six Elementary Schools

Over the last two years hundreds of Burlington residents have spoken out for their vision for our city’s elementary schools. Throughout the debate it has been clear that community members, parents and voters have supported sustaining six neighborhood schools. In 2006 a referendum overwhelmingly passed supporting maintaining six neighborhood elementary schools.

Our understanding is that the Burlington School Board is considering a motion to affirm the School Board’s commitment to all of our neighborhood schools.

We hope that this is the first step in bringing our community together around improving our schools. We believe that any plan to close one or more schools would continue to divide our community.

We encourage the Agenda Committee and the full School Board to move forward by taking the threat of a school closure off the table and by voting to maintain our six neighborhood schools so that we can work together to make our schools better for all of Burlington’s children.

Betsy Allen-Pennebaker
Kit Andrews
Lindol M.Atkins Jr.
Joanne Beaubien, Parent, Edmunds Elementary & Edmunds Middle
Jen Berger
Donna Bister
Vince Brennan
Karen Bushey
Richey Bushey
Jessica Butts
Marrisa Caldwell
Maria Chomentowski
Kevin Corcoran
Julia Curry
Lillian Dean
Art Demarais
Haijma Deng
Siobhan Donegan
Carina Driscoll
Paul Fleckenstein
Jim Flint
Claire Gestner
Charles Goodnight
John Grimm
Rebecca Grimm
Robin and Steve Guillian
James Haslam
Brendan Hatch
Suzanne M. Hebeler
Jane Geffken Henderson
Nancy Hier
Paul Hobbs
Genevieve Jacobs
Ashley Jerome
Rachel Jolly
Kate Kandelstein
Bret Kernoff
Ariane Kissam
Brenda Kissam
Jonathan Kissam
David Kreindler
Tristram Kuniz
Cate Lamb
John Leddy
Ted and Winnie Looby
Jason P. Lorber, State Representative
Charley MacMartin
Cherie Marshall
Christine Massey
Nicole J. McMillan
Linnie Miller
Jessica Anne Morley
Rebecca Moseley
Emma Mulvaney-Stanak
Megan Munson-Warnken
Tamara Musgrove
Kathy Olwell
Meghan O'Rourke
Sara Osaba
Jodi Ouellette
Melissa Parker
Karen Paul, Burlington' Future
Christopher Pearson, State Representative
Megan Peek
Becky Rabin
Leslie C. Richards
Heather Riemer
Colin Robinson
Jennifer Shewmake
Rachel Siegel
Rebecca Smith, BEA President
Kate Spence
Justina Starr
Rebecca Taylor
Tiffany Tillman
Andrew Tomczak
Kathy Valloch
Wayne Warnken
Beth Wasmund
Rachel Weston, State Representative
Julie Winn
Meredith Woodward King
Carol Ann Wooster
Dylan Zeitlyn


Rebecca Smith, BEA President said...

Well said. We can't afford to close an Old North End School at this point. Wheeler is full except for 5th grade, and Barnes continues to be inundated with new refugee children. If we truly value diversity and believe in equity for our children, then we need to be able to offer the most accessible education possible to low income students and their families.
Rebecca Smith
BEA President

Paul said...

Great letter. Please add my name to it. Paul Fleckenstein

Anonymous said...

We need to support our neighborhood schools. Please add my name in support of the letter. Carol Ann Wooster

Rachel said...

Our neighborhood schools are one of the ways Burlington has stayed unique, walkable and 'locally-grown'. The creativity shown thus far in the process shows that we can work towards SEI in other ways besides closing a school. Thank you,

Rachel Jolly

Anonymous said...

I agree that this is a time to strengthen our schools. Closing some of our elementary schools is not in the city's best interests.

Charles Goodnight

Anonymous said...

If funds were limitless, then it would be easy to keep all the schools open, pave the roads, clear the snow, fight crime, etc. Unfortunately, that's not the reality. Burlington is struggling to pay for all the services it provides. Unless parents are willing to pay an extra tuition fee to augment the tax funding, Burlington may be forced to cut expenses and close a school or two.

Emma said...

Please add my name to the letter. Local schools mean stronger communities. Emma Mulvaney-Stanak

beth said...

We need to support our neighborhood schools.Please add my name to this list. Beth Wasmund

Jason P. Lorber said...

Agreed. Thank you for all of your work to help save Barnes & Wheeler.

Anonymous said...

Please add my name to the letter. It's time for this and other school boards across the state to tackle costs at the root, by pushing for single-payer health insurance. Closing a school is the wrong answer to that problem.

Anonymous said...

oops ... that was me - Julia Curry.

Rep. Rachel Weston said...

Well said. Wheeler and Barnes are such an important part of our community. Please sign my name to the letter.--- Rachel Weston

Rep. Rachel Weston said...

Well said. Wheeler and Barnes are such an important part of our community. Please sign my name to the letter.--- Rachel Weston

Rep. Rachel Weston said...

Well said. Wheeler and Barnes are such an important part of our community. Please sign my name to the letter.--- Rachel Weston

Donna Bister said...

Neighborhood schools are the heart of our community. It's hard to engage the neighborhood in working to improve schools that are constantly under threat of closure, and I encourage the full school board to affirm their commitment to maintaining all six Burlington neighborhood schools.

Donna Bister
Peru Street

Paul Hobbs said...

Why it is fine for Barns parents and PTO to emphasize the importance of their children attending local schools, but when an Edmund parent (like me who lives on Adsit Ct and before that on Booth Street for 7 years) takes the same position we are labeled classist? I am tired of, and upset by this double standard.

Please add my name to this list as I am in alignment with the Barns PTO as supporting neighborhood schools and must rely on them to express my position since all my friends and neighbors east of Booth and south of North have been discredited as classist.


Anonymous said...

Leslie C. Richards

Anonymous said...

Please add my name in support of the open letter. I live just around the corner from Wheeler and love watching all the parents walking their kids to school in the mornings - it's a real community. One neighborhood mom told me that because the school is so close, she's able to touch base with her children's teachers almost every day - an unquantifiable but absolutely invaluable contribution to her kids' academic success. - Betsy Allen-Pennebaker

Anonymous said...

Jodi Ouellette

Anonymous said...

The concept of children walking to school and being actively involved in their neighborhoods lies at the heart of public education in Burlington. I fully support neighborhood schools and the civic engagement cultivated through students attending a school within walking distance to their home.

Jim Flint
33 Tracy Drive

Anonymous said...

I appreciate all Barnes PTO says and does. I would like to comment to Anonymous who said "If funds were limitless...". I feel that funds are not limitless, but good budgeting is priceless. Cutting properties that have high costs and low yield is essential. However, I feel that low cost and high yield describe what we are getting from Lawrence Barnes. Pushing the Barnes people out may give a short term gain, but after you pay for all the extra services, refitting furniture and renovations to buildings it will not only come up as a loss, but the School District will have lost a valuable asset while paying for patchwork. An unheard of amount of un-budgeted money is going into the Taft building, just to keep the doors open, which is producing a low yield. I feel that the School board should get free from that building and reclaim any space that they are renting out to other agencies. There is more space available at Saint Marks School in the New North End that is cheap to maintain and cheap to rent, if more space is needed.
Andrew Tomczak
15 Allen Street Apt.3
Burlington, VT

Tim said...

Kathy Olwell