October 21st, 2016

Act 46 Breaks My Heart

I grew up in Cabot in the 1950’s/60’s. I came home in 1999. It was like stepping back in time 50 years, but not in a bad way. Since 1999, a dozen village houses vanished. In 2010, our village government, which worked since 1866, dissolved.

Now the Vermont legislature threatens our beloved school. Legislators wrongly believe small is bad and large is good. They say small costs too much. But, state mandates inflate school budgets, not local residents.

Act 46 breaks my heart. It’s a vile, evil, cruel law. Only a minority want it, as proven with Cabot’s school vote two years ago. We voted overwhelmingly to KEEP our school. This law is an empty promise. It’s a lie that combining school districts will cost less, it won’t. When people see that truth, it will be too late. Our school will be gone, like our ghost houses and village government.

Local schools are the heart and soul of any community, whether you have children in them or not. Remove the school–kill the town. Our school board members work hard to make sure Cabot is an excellent school. We’re proud of it and of them. I don’t WANT our school board members to be a minority from Cabot with a majority from larger towns we’re forced to merge with. It will guarantee we have NO local control. Our school board members do an outstanding job. They care about Cabot School. Local residents can better meet student needs than a one-size-fits-all bureaucratic mandate from Montpelier.

Judge schools not by size, but by what graduates accomplish. From the beginning, Cabot graduates became doctors, lawyers, teachers and writers. Did legislators bother to read comments from 38 recent alumni, their thoughts about Cabot School and accomplishments since graduation? https://friendsofcabotschool.wordpress.com/alumni-voices/

My grandmother, mother, granddaughter and I graduated from Cabot. We earned college degrees. My granddaughter graduated from SUNY New Paltz, with honors, last year. She won a Fulbright Scholarship to teach English in Malaysia. How many large school graduates do as well? She’s not unique. Eighty percent of C.H.S. 2015 graduates will attend college.

Legislators say the issue is money, but are silent about the TRILLION DOLLARS spent on wars this past decade. Money spent educating children is more important than buying bullets. YES, a good education is expensive. It’s worth more than we spend. Those who complain about the cost of education don’t value education. Ignore them. SHAME on legislators who voted for this vile law and the Governor who signed it. We can and should vote them OUT of office and repeal Act 46.

Bonnie Stevens Dannenberg
Cabot, VT

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