Dear HUUSD Board,
I'm writing because I can't attend the meeting tonight, and I have a unique experience that you need to know about that relates to your critical votes.
You may recall from my previous correspondence that I grew up in Moretown and attended elementary school here. Before Moretown received its addition in the 1990s, students were put in temporary classrooms that were connected to the building by makeshift covered walkways -- the same type of temporary classrooms that the superintendent is asking you to approve for use at CBMS.
I was one of the students who attended class in the temporary module and a return of such structures to our district should be an absolute last resort.
My time in the temporary classroom was my least favorite experience during elementary school. It was so cold that we had to wear our coats and sometimes hats during lessons in the winter. Animals made their winter homes under the units, which created a range of problems from encounters with children to damage to the structure itself. I also felt very disconnected to my school. I remember feeling hurt that it was my class that was chosen for the exterior space, and my classmates and I were in a constant state of "in-between." We were continuously traveling back and forth from the module to the school for extended learning experiences, and it felt like we were missing something or leaving something behind each time we exited the school to return to a place we knew was a stopgap until they could build something that we would never have access to.
I understand now that a temporary classroom was necessary because we didn't have enough space for our growing population. You aren't in the same situation. This community has had to listen to Brigid Nease tell us that we have too much capacity and too few students for years, and yet now she's asking you to vote on a plan that would vacate even more space at Harwood only to put the students in a temporary structure at Crossett Brook because there isn't enough space there?
That's a terrible idea. And, when you consider that you might also vote to link a bond plan to a Fayston closure -- limiting our district's capacity even further -- while also putting students out into the cold reality of a temporary module, it gets even worse.
When are you going to finally put our students above the whims and plans of your employee, the superintendent?
Why would you give away great school space only to rent temporary space?
Would you want your child to sit with their coat on in a temporary module while their friends attend class in the actual school? Would you want your child wearing a winter hat in class while there are empty classrooms a few miles down the road because you voted to remove the students from said classrooms?
I wouldn't want that for my child because I was that child.
What your employee, the superintendent, is asking you to do is an absolutely last resort scenario.
Are we there? Is our situation really that dire?
It doesn't seem so. It seems like you are inventing problems to solve. It seems like you are being pressured into voting for something you don't fully understand.
Make the bond vote about Harwood -- a full and thriving Harwood. Make all your votes about children and their wellbeing.
Jesse Williams lives in Moretown, Vermont.