Redesign and Harwood bond

  • Published in Letters

To The Editor:

I want to thank the HUUSD Board for shelving the process of redesign for a few years. It is the right thing to do and shows they listened to feedback from the community.

Their attention is now focused on the Harwood Union High School bond. This is a necessary project that has been delayed for several years. The process will also include possible reconfiguration of where students in the district attend middle school and how that school is structured. There will be a public forum on the middle schools in the Harwood Union auditorium on September 5. Time TBD. Please attend if you can to give your input and show community support and involvement for the work the board is doing.

I attended the school board "retreat" as an observer on August 22. It was a four-hour facilitated marathon dealing with the duties, processes and functioning of the school board. The strong commitment of the members to become an effective functioning board was obvious. They have a steep learning curve – not only for the new members but for experienced board members as well who had a very different structure with their small individual school boards. A unified board with 14 members, seven schools and a projected $37 million budget is a whole different game. When a member asked how long it might take to have the board functioning smoothly the facilitator responded four to five years. Based on what I saw and the decision to shelve redesign, I would say they are "going in the right direction."

It is my understanding that the hiring of a construction manager at this time is to provide cost estimates for various configurations of the middle school. If the board had not hired one, the architectural firm would have done so. Attempting to have a bond vote ready for 2019 Town Meeting will be nearly impossible. Let's keep the process moving but take our time to do it right.

Brian Fleisher

Waitsfield