I am going to need school representatives familiar with school logistics, population numbers, education law, etc. to vet this idea, but with the budget getting voted down, I thought the timing was ripe for us to explore what’s next.
So here is the TWMECA Redesign Model:
Two Valley schools, perhaps Warren and Moretown, and Thatcher Brook house pre-K through second grade, the MECA model, and entertain expanding to younger ages to the MECA-WECA-THECA model.
Two Valley schools, perhaps Waitsfield and Fayston, house students in grades three through six.
Waterbury and Duxbury third- through sixth-graders would be housed at Crossett Brook and all district seventh-12th-graders would be at Harwood Union. (A Crossett Brook–Harwood Union swap may also be explored where Crossett Brook becomes nine-12 if there is not enough room at Harwood.)
WHY THIS IS ATTRACTIVE
1. Faculty and staff costs are the largest chunk of the budget by far. Cost savings of having larger cohorts cuts down on number of faculty needed and flexibility to adjust class sizes for more equity.
2. No building necessary.
3. No small schools need to close. We save communities. We preserve property values.
4. Our kids come together as larger cohorts much sooner.
5. Thatcher doesn’t burst at the seams and has room to expand.
6. Shorter commute for all the youngest students and community members on the fringes.
7. With our MECA day care model and the room in our buildings to offer younger ages, we will attract more families to our district. This would be a lifeline for struggling families and would encourage small families to have more babies. This boosts enrollment which increases property value and increases district revenue. Maybe even lower taxes.
1. Some folks really want to keep a pre-K-6 model in their town in part for community identity.
2. Slightly longer commute for some third- through eighth-grade students and community members.
If you like this idea, please share with others, reach out to board members and district administrators, post on your local Front Porch Forum and other social media and please free to start a discussion with me with your two cents. At the very least, I would like a motion by a board member to have this model explored. Let’s work together regardless of where this goes no matter what your opinions are of redesign.
Many thanks for reading and considering this idea.