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To The Editor:
This letter is addressed to the Waitsfield community:
As everyone heads into the busy holiday season, the Waitsfield School Board steers directly into budget planning for the next school year. This is an important time when the difficult conversations are had about balancing our commitment to educational quality while working to craft a responsible and thoughtful budget to present to our community on Town Meeting Day. This year, our budgetary decisions include consideration of appropriate class size for next year's kindergarten (do we have one classroom or two?), class size at the first- and second-grade level, replacement of aging technology (how much is enough?) and renewal of the Middlebury Interactive Language program, among others.
It is important to note that the budget dialogue is an ongoing discussion that takes place over the course of several months, beginning in November and carrying through to January, when the board finalizes a budget to bring before March Town Meeting. The board is tasked with navigating challenging decisions in regard to staffing and programmatic offerings while balancing our contractual obligations and meeting state and federal mandates. We welcome and encourage the public to participate in this process so that your voices can be reflected in our budget work and so that you, too, can have a window into the level of scrutiny we bring to each budget line item and the myriad of factors we must consider when making changes. We hope that through participation everyone comes away with the realization that the budget presented to you on Town Meeting Day is the culmination of hours of study, work and robust discussion and submitted with the utmost respect for your vote.
In the end, we are a community that is incredibly fortunate to be served by the caliber of public school such as Waitsfield Elementary. It is a model of inspired educational leadership, thoughtful programming, committed educators and community involvement which yields impressive results year after year. We thank the community for its longstanding tradition of supporting its local school and the children it serves. Our upcoming board meetings are Monday, December 16, 7 p.m. and Monday, January 20, 7 p.m., in the school library. The budget will be discussed in great detail on Monday, December 16, with feedback that will lead to a final board budget vote on Monday, January 20. The meetings are also taped and aired on Channel 44. Thank you for being part of the conversation.
Waitsfield Board of School Directors
Allison Champlin, Eve Frankel, Helen Kellogg, Rob Williams, Todd White
Kaiya Korb, Waitsfield Elementary School principal