Editor’s note: This commentary is by Ward Heneveld, Ed.D., who is retired in Enosburgh after a career in education as a teacher, administrator, planner and program officer in Vermont, Brazil, India, Indonesia, Pakistan and throughout Africa where he first taught in Kenya. He has worked in Vermont as a professor of education, as executive director of a community action agency, and as director of the School for International Training. After more than 10 years at the World Bank he was program officer for the Quality of Education in Developing Countries joint initiative of the William and Flora Hewlett and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundations.
For the last two years I have followed both the Vermont Legislature and Franklin County’s process to formulate and now implement school district unification according to Act 46. While I agree that unifying town school districts is a good idea, I am voting against the Franklin Northeast Supervisory Union’s (FNESU) unification plan for Bakersfield, Berkshire, Enosburgh, Montgomery and Richford.
Here’s the reasons: Act 46 is not designed well; the consultation process in our five towns has been inadequate in outreach, time and transparency; and the relentless advertising campaign in support of district unification pursued by the St. Albans Messenger and the district’s education establishment is so one-sided that I worry that they’ve missed important considerations.
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