Dear Friends and Neighbors –You rock!! What an amazing evening! We would like to thank the voters of Ward 5 for their strong support of the Burlington Schools. In the current economy, and in the face of strong opposition from the Governor and the Free Press, we are thrilled that all three District ballot items passed. The 57% vote city-wide in favor of the budget is particularly gratifying.
Your votes will bear immediate fruit. Wholly apart from the valuable additions to the District (a new middle school math curriculum, a science coach, more strings instruction, and so on), the work on the District’s most needy schools will begin almost immediately. Even before voting closed yesterday, the Infrastructure and Technology Committee was meeting with architect Colin Lindberg to plan out the bid and construction process. Significant improvements will be made before the start of school in the fall. The Committee also spent considerable time discussing possible plans for providing ADA access in the Edmunds complex; that project is a priority of the Board and one that will receive a lot of attention in the coming months.
As gratifying as these steps are, there is still more advocacy work to do. Under the stimulus plan passed by Congress, state governors have nearly complete discretion on the allocation of some of the funds. With school budgets passing across the state of Vermont, it is clear that Vermonters value the education that their children receive. I hope that we will have your support in urging the Governor to use some of the stimulus money to catch up on the school infrastructure needs that the State has completely ignored for the last three years.
Finally, we want to remind everyone that today (March 4th) is the first day that Burlington families can apply to our two elementary magnet schools in the Old North End. These are the first magnet schools in Vermont, incubators of innovation, and vehicles for true and meaningful equity in our school district. All the forms, and lots of information, are available at BSDMagnet.com. Please let us know of any questions you have about these or anything else.
Looking forward, the Board and the District Administration will be reaching out to the community throughout the year for input on future budgetary and policy decisions. We hope that each of you will continue your wonderful support for the schools and the children of Burlington.
With great appreciation,
Ward 5 School Commissioner and Finance Chair
12 Catherine Street