After months of community outreach and presentations given by the Harwood Unified Union School (HUUSD) Board’s executive committee, the school board voted against accepting the recommendation for option four in the middle school redesign project.
At the school board meeting on October 10, option 4, the recommendation to have a dedicated middle school for the district, fifth- through eighth-graders from Waterbury/Duxbury and seventh- and eighth-graders from The Valley to all attend Crossett Brook was voted down.
The unweighted vote was 8 to 6 against the option four resolution after board members discussed why each member was for or against the option. The weighted vote – which reflects the weight of each town’s population was 58.4 percent against and 41.6 percent in favor.
Warren representative Alycia Biondo voted against the option, her fellow Warren representative Rosemarie White, who is on the executive committee voted for the plan, thus, canceling each other’s vote. White proposed ideas that the current Harwood middle school space could be used for a makers space or STEM center for high school students to be introduced to hands-on learning and trades work.
MORETOWN AND WATERBURY
Both Moretown representatives, Linda Hazard and Gabe Gilman, voted against the option. Waterbury representatives were split -- Alex Thomsen and Caitlin Hollister voted yes while Maureen McCracken and Melissa Phillips voted no. Phillips pitched the idea of renovating the existing seventh- and eighth-grade space at Harwood along with the Harwood bond project and moving the middle school students elsewhere. Phillips was not definite on a location to move the middle school students to at the time.
Fayston representatives Jill Ellis and Theresa Membrino voted no. Ellis wanted additional community engagement and a dedicated fifth through eighth middle school option for Valley students. Ellis also mentioned she would like more input about the move from the families in the district from Granville. Membrino commented that she needed more vision, metrics and success metrics.
Duxbury representatives Torrey Smith and Garett MacCurtain were split in their votes, both Waitsfield representative Rob Williams and board chair Christine Sullivan voted in favor.
MacCurtain moved to hear from Superintendent Brigid Nease before tallying the vote. Nease commented that none of the work that the board, executive committee and community outreach group did had been wasted.
Nease spoke on her behalf of the prior bond work and how difficult it can be to pass for any reason. Nease commented that a bond will only pass if project is very clear, thoroughly considered and studied. The work that goes towards a bond needs to be comprehensives to the community with an outline and budgeted costs, she said.