Monadnock Ledger-Transcript – ConVal organizes its first community forum
Posted: 10/4/2021 14:59:22 PM
ConVal held its first public forum Thursday evening, allowing community members to have a dialogue with school board members and school administrators in a way that was not previously available at school board meetings.
Alan Edelkind, the representative of the Dublin School Board, opened the meeting by discussing the community’s desire for a public forum and what motivated the board to respond to this request.
“Why do we want a community forum? Edelkind asked. “The answer lies in two words: dialogue and transparency. “
Edelkind said the ConVal community has a lot to discuss.
“People are passionate, they are intense, they are highly focused in their thoughts and opinions,” he said. “And they should be. The decisions we make impact the most important aspects of their lives: their home, their wallet and, most importantly, their children. ”
Despite this passion, Edelkind called for courtesy and polite discussion.
The original forum agenda was slightly disrupted by long question-and-answer sessions surrounding the first two presentation topics, which focused on COVID-19 policies and the budget, and the informal nature of the forum allowed the president from the school board and forum moderator, Tim Theberge, to mix up the discussion topics of the evening according to the wishes of the participants.
Theberge presented COVID-19 policies with Bennington School Board representative Kiera Christian. They recapitulated the board’s position on the district reopening framework, as well as their many previous discussions on mitigation strategies and the potential of immunization to significantly relax those strategies.
Sharon School Board Representative Jim Fredrickson presented the district budget, giving the audience a general overview of the process and how the school board and administration work together to create a budget.
Community members were able to ask the board clarifying questions on these topics and have conversations about issues such as the health data on which the district is basing its current decision matrix, the impact of the distance learning on budget, when parents have to keep their kids at home.
The discussion shifted to other topics after Théberge, at the request of the audience, chose to skip the final school administrators presentation on restoring learning and curriculum changes and go straight to the open discussion. Members of the public were able to ask questions about the maintenance of the district’s sports grounds and the wider future of the district.
Many community members present thanked the board and administration for setting up the forum.
“It can be really frustrating not having a dialogue with you,” said Erin Nolan of Peterborough. “So I think it’s really great.”
Julia Beam from Hancock also thanked the Board for the forum. “I think it’s great, I think it’s really important for everyone to stay in touch and discuss the issues,” she said.
“We really hope this will be the start of a series of quarterly forums where the public can interact with us in a little more informal way than at the board meeting, which I know can be frustrating. for a lot of people, ”Theberge said. . “We will do it again.”