By Brian Fleisher
The school board voted to install Linda Hazard to the vacant Moretown representative seat. Linda received 69 percent of the vote. While technically accurate it is only because of the voting weighted in favor of Waterbury/Duxbury. The voting actually was six for Kristen Rodgers and six for Linda. The Moretown Select Board recommended Kristen. There were eight letters of recommendation for Kristen sent to the select board and six to the school board. One was mine. There were no letters of recommendation for Linda.
A Vermont statute currently in one-year suspension provides for a town select board to fill a school board vacancy until the next election.
Linda was previously on the school board and returned to Moretown in June after a six-year absence. Her previous experience was cited by a board member as a reason to vote for her since that would be helpful during these transition times. She thought it would be best for the board -- rather than what is best for the district! I would prefer to see Kristen on the board bringing new ideas and a fresh perspective to the process. And she is highly qualified.
Six members of the board totally disrespected the Moretown Select Board, Moretown residents, and all residents of The Valley towns. They overrode the wishes of the select board's recommendation and other letters supporting Kristen. In doing so they undercut any credibility they have when they talk about unifying the district. This is hypocrisy. If they showed respect, Kristen would have the position. One of the fears of consolidation was that the weighted voting rights of Waterbury/Duxbury would overrule the rights of the four Valley towns. This has just been proved to be true.
I am suggesting a solution requiring radical integrity. I am calling for Linda to resign from the board. She should not have been given this position. I am asking the board to show respect for Moretown, revote, and appoint Kristen to the board. Both Kristen and Linda can then run for the seat in March and the voters of Moretown can decide. As they should.
The school board messed up. Please fix it!
Brian Fleisher lives in Waitsfield.