Starksboro Save Our Schools

About Us

Who We Are

We are a group of Starksboro residents who are devoted to engaging our community in deciding the future of our local schools. Among us are parents, former educators and school board members, and community members.


Current Active Members of the Starksboro Save Our Schools committee include:

Erin Buckwalter erin.buckwalter@gmail.com

Denny Casey denniscasey21@gmail.com

Nancy Cornell ncornell7@gmail.com

Louis Dupont louis@starkmountain.com

Margi Gregory margigregory@gmail.com

Neily Jennings neily.jennings@gmail.com

Susan Klaiber seklaiber@gmail.com

Herb Olson herb.liz@gmavt.net

Chanda Rochon crochon15@gmail.com

Chris Runcie runcie@gmavt.net

Guiding Values

The Starksboro Save Our Schools Committee Pledges to Uphold the Following Values:


Centering Youth

  • We hold the interests of current and future Starksboro students at the center of our work.

  • Young people thrive best when they receive care, love, and a sense of belonging and self-worth.


Small, Local Schools

  • There is plenty of evidence that small local schools bring a high level of value to kids, families, and communities.

  • Our children and our school teachers, administrators, staff, parents, and volunteers are the glue that holds our town together - we see more involvement from parents and volunteers when a school is located in the town where students live.

  • At a well-led small community school, kids learn to value the community; the community values kids.

  • Community schools foster the kinds of intergenerational connection that is vital to children and to any town.

  • Place-based learning is valuable because students are more likely to become stewards of their town and the environment when they are rooted in place.


Equity

  • For a community that is highly impacted by poverty and other social barriers to learning, striving for equitable access to high quality education is essential.


Democracy & Transparency

  • Our community members should be informed and engaged in decisions that impact our town.

  • The School Board and other elected officials and decision-makers should prioritize each town's unique needs and interests.

  • Students benefit from adults modeling democratic processes, especially where it directly impacts their lives.

  • Our committee will share information relevant to the future of schools in accessible ways with our Starksboro neighbors, and we expect that the School Board will do the same.


Financial Stewardship

  • We must ensure the financial sustainability of our school and town for the long term.

  • In this time of uncertainty, it is important to establish a phased, incremental approach to solving the financial issues facing the school district.


Abundance

  • In one of the wealthiest countries in the world, we refuse the myth that there aren’t enough resources to maintain our high quality local elementary school. Our children's education should be one of our highest priorities; therefore, resources should be allocated at a federal, state, and local level to ensure that all students are able to attend a school that is best situated for their growth, thriving, and sense of belonging.

“Surveying the current educational landscape in Addison County, [Bill] Mathis disagrees with the common assertion that small town campaigns to withdraw from school districts to avoid closing their schools are being waged by adults who all too often fail to center students in the public conversation. ‘You can’t make that argument in a Ripton or a Lincoln,’ he said. ‘You’ll never convince them and that’s because they’re right and you’re wrong. We need to learn that there is such a thing as a public ethos, a town green, if you will, a place of ideas... There’s a reality to that sense of community. That’s what makes things strong. Community schools are among the few socialization institutions we’ve got left, along with families and churches,’ Mathis said. ‘They are what give towns and civilizations democracy. To dismiss the socialization effects of our schools would be to dismiss the importance of education, period.’"

-Addison Independent, 9/16/21, quoting former State Board of Education member, and former RNESU superintendent Bill Mathis

What Are Our Goals?

First and foremost, we aim to protect the best interests of Starksboro students as well as members of the Starksboro community.

Our more immediate and specific goals include:

  1. Educate ourselves and increase community engagement in advocating for Robinson Elementary School's future.

  2. The Mt. Abe Union School District (MAUSD) board should resolve, soon and publicly, that it will affirm Starksboro voters’ right (as outlined in the MAUSD Articles of Agreement) to vote on any proposal to close or repurpose Robinson Elementary School. As of November 15, we have successfully accomplished this goal!

  3. The study committee members evaluating a possible merger between the MAUSD and the Addison Northwest School District (ANWSD) should pledge that they will not approve a merger structure that would eliminate Starksboro’s — or any other MAUSD town’s — existing right to vote on any proposal to close its school.


More information about what's happening in regards to the future of Robinson School can be found here.


More information about how to get involved can be found here.