Community members are right to take the Harwood Union School Board to task for rejecting a free electric vehicle (EV) charging station for the school.

Last fall, Bill Powell of the Washington Electric Co-op approached the board about the opportunity to install an $18,000 charging station at the school after his company received a grant and selected Harwood as one of the schools to receive the free station plus five years of operating costs.

The board rejected it in September, accepted it in October and rejected it again in November in a very tight weighted vote of 16-14.

Community members aren’t happy about the vote and one Waitsfield business owner has offered to fund the costs of the electricity that the station would use for five years. Students are not happy about it either.

As a community we espouse – exhort actually – living greener lives and reducing our carbon footprints. Students in our schools learn sustainability and conservation.

It’s embarrassing that the board of our union high school would reject this generous offer and all the opportunity that it represents. Aside from the very obvious message that we are preparing for a future when we rely less on fossil fuels and more on the sun to get around, an EV station would demonstrate to students that the grown-ups elected to lead their school understand that the world is changing.

It’s hard to believe that our educational leaders, capable of explaining and leading the charge of Act 46, can’t put their collective thinking caps on and find a way to make this happen.

Just because world oil prices have led to a dramatic decrease in the price of oil and, hence, a dramatic decrease in the cost of gasoline, we still have to address the impact of what burning fossil fuels is doing to our planet.

This issue has already been the subject of multiple votes. Let’s have one more and let’s lobby the board members we elect to get it passed.