Challenges Region 12 leaders to create a plan
Published 5:50 pm, Wednesday, January 14, 2015
(The following is an open letter to the first selectmen of Bridgewater, Roxbury and Washington, and Region 12 Superintendent of Schools Pat Cosentino from Bridgewater resident Loy Wilkinson).
In a few weeks, first selectmen from the towns of Region 12 may meet with legislators, Region 12 administrators and officials from the state Department of Education to discuss the Region 12 dilemma.
A decade-long decline in enrollment vexes the Region 12 administrators and the Board of Education; both are at a loss about dealing with the problem.
The electorate is disgusted with inaction, the mediocre academic achievement of Shepaug Middle/High School and the relative high cost per student.
The middle/high school building is in dire need of repair.
The electorate refuses to approve repair expenditures until the Board of Education provides a believable plan to cope with the declining enrollment, the mediocre academic achievement and the relative high cost of per student.
One may assume the assembly of decision-makers is a long anticipated positive action that will result in a solution.
Don't kid yourself.
There is a high probability not one of the attendees will come to the meeting with a proposed solution. The Region 12 superintendent is a possible exception.
Without proposals to debate and evaluate, the most likely outcome is a passive resolution that merely kicks the can down the road.
The pity of the situation is a viable, highly analyzed proposal was presented to the Region 12 Board of Education almost a year ago.
The proposal is Ed Wainwright's tuition out solution.
Ed's proposal suggests the Shepaug Valley Middle/High School be shut down, and our middle/high school students are sent to neighboring school districts that have higher academic achievements and lower costs.
The neighboring systems can absorb our students.
Despite the better academic environment and the lower costs, the board systematically ignored tuition out except to pass a resolution never to shut down Shepaug Middle/High School.
If the assembled officials at the upcoming meeting can propose a better solution than Ed's, let's see it.
Otherwise, the first selectmen should authorize an independent evaluation of the tuition out proposal.