SBBA Asks the Candidates
With the City Council election coming up on March 3rd, the South Burlington Business Association reached out to each of the Council Candidates to get their responses to four business related questions. As a reminder, current Councilor Meaghan Emery is running against Development Review Board Chair Matt Cota. Councilor Thomas Chittenden is running unopposed.
SBBA School Position
The SBBA believes that the quality of the school system in South Burlington is a significant asset to the community, and contributes to the overall health and vitality of the city. Our population growth and the financial security of the City may well hinge on the success and strength of our school system. Residents and business both benefit from an excellent school environment.
The quality of the educational experience for our youth and the affordability in providing it are critical focal points that all decisions should be based on.
The major issue currently being examined in our community, and indeed the State as a whole, is school consolidation. In South Burlington this is also combined with a potential sale or repurposing of school facilities and related matters. On August 7, 2015, The School & Community Master Planning Task Force (Task Force) set forth several concepts and recommendations for the school district and community to consider regarding this matter. Click here to see the Task Force report.
After an evaluation by consultants White & Burke, and considerable community discussion, and a disparity of opinion amongst the members of the School Board, the Board approved a unanimous motion on December 7th regarding Master Planning and Visioning. The Board voted to:
1. Identify specific needs for upgrades at the High School and Middle School.
2. Identify and monitor issues that may impact the District’s ability to maintain/improve the quality of pre- K-5 public education with specific emphasis on documenting any impacts/threats to the health and education outcomes to students caused by the location and/or physical space of the Chamberlin School.
3. Develop a contingency plan by 12/2017 to ensure equitable delivery of elementary education services in South Burlington, should the Chamberlin School need to be closed.
4. Revitalize the District’s strategic plan with an analysis of the current strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats and develop a plan for additional phases of a strategic planning process. The information gathered in the Master Planning and Visioning process will form a starting point for the analysis.
The SBBA appreciates the work done by the School Board, and with input from its members, believes that some form of consolidation would be prudent and should continue to be examined. The goals of any form of consolidation should be to maintain the excellence our schools provide while enhancing cost efficiencies, which can be reinvested in the Middle and High Schools.