VOTE YES ON SEPTEMBER 7.
The town of Windham is scheduled to vote September 7 on whether the Windham Elementary School should be closed and its students tuitioned to other schools. Here is background on why many Windham voters plan to VOTE YES.
What are our issues?
Impossibility of maintaining optimum staffing and school plant in the face of uncertain enrollment: Most folks agree that the Windham school is badly in need of additional staff. It also needs substantial improvements to the physical plant, especially the kitchen, the heating system, and COVID-related updates to the ventilation and air-quality system. The current school board understandably hesitates to address these shortcomings, in order to keep the budget low enough to avoid the penalty for high per-pupil spending (see below).
The problem of the penalty for high per-pupil spending: Vermont’s school funding formula causes Windham tax payers to suffer a hefty penalty with even a slight increase in school costs. This is because the number of students in our local school is generally very small, driving the per-pupil cost into the penalty box. As a result, our annual education tax rate fluctuates wildly over short spans of time.
Desire for more opportunities for our kids: The competence and good intentions of the school’s current principal and sole teacher are not in question. Even so, a sizable proportion of Windham parents opt to send their kids to school elsewhere (paying tuition costs in addition to the Windham ed tax); other parents would do the same if they could afford it. Some Windham families choose to home school. Some families have moved away from Windham explicitly to avoid sending their kids to the local school. In most cases, these parents are clear that the Windham school is too small to offer the opportunities they want for their kids. They have a list of “wants,” including sports teams, in-house reading specialists, and wider curriculum opportunities in art and music.
By voting YES, you can ensure that Windham families will have the choice to send their kids to schools that better align with their priorities.