Opinion post from Lil
The Selectboard, the editor of the Clarion, and the School Board have all offered opinions on Article 8 of the school district warrant. As I have been involved with the Fall Mountain School District since 1965 it only seems fair that I might do the same here on The Walpolean.
I respectfully urge you to vote “NO” on Article 8 for a number of reasons.
First: The RSA sited for studying withdrawals makes no mention of a non-partisan third party Firm and instead REQUIRES participation from select boards and school board members. Since the school board and three of the five select boards have already made their positions known, I question that “non-partisan” will apply in this case.
Second: While $150,000 may not seem like a lot when compared to a $31,224,800 budget, voting no can save Walpole $33,330. Method 1 will be used to raise the revenue for this study as it is a School Board expense. As a Town, our total cost would be 22.22% or $33,330. As a Taxpayer the cost is 10¢/$1000 Net Assessed Value. Given the today’s political climate of hearing only what you agree with, that seems like a poor investment. You have to wonder if any minds will be changed.
This is not the first time Charlestown has called for, and gotten, a withdrawal study. Withdrawal committees have been set up, their findings published and the conclusions have always been that withdrawal is not good for the district. Why will this one be different?
Third: The School Board mailing, emphasized the need to study the Articles of Agreement that created the district in the early 1960’s. Is it possible that that argument might be a better starting point to address grievances? It would appear that those who wish to study the issue of withdrawal either wish to bypass them or don’t know about them. Article 8 does not address the Articles of Agreement at all.
Fourth: Worst of all is that neither the warrant article, the Selectboard position statement, nor the School Board position statement mentions the fundamental issue – how will these actions benefit the education of our students?