To the editor: Vote ‘Yes’ on Ludlow-Mt. Holly merger to keep option open

A favorite author, Glennon Doyle Melton, writes about crisis and how it can actually provide opportunity. She says: “The Greek root of CRISIS is TO SIFT. It’s what crises do – shake us until we hold only what matters most.”

I believe Act 46 has created a crisis for the towns of Mount Holly and Ludlow. We need to look at this challenge as an opportunity to “sift” and to evaluate what matters most to us. We can embrace this as a chance to bring forth an independent school that builds off the strong legacy of Black River High School and utilizes the many civic and natural resources we have at our fingertips. We can honor and respect the past while innovating for the future.

School Choice

I support the option of School Choice in grades 7-12 in both towns for the following reasons:

  1. It gives our communities the best opportunity to rebuild our high school with the freedom of an independent model.
  2. I value a local option for educating my kids.
  3. I respect the fact that some families wish to provide their children with opportunities in other communities.
  4. Every child has different educational needs.
  5. School choice coupled with an innovative, independent high school would be a draw to our towns and people would likely move here to provide these opportunities for their children, thus increasing our schools’ enrollments beginning at the elementary level.

Hold Harmless Protection

The independent model would mean no longer fearing the loss of our “Hold Harmless” protection and the risk of even more cuts to programs already suffering financially.

The implications of a “NO” vote are that the fate of Black River High School will no longer be in the hands of a local school board. If the State Board of Education re-districts us, we will be at the mercy of default merger agreements and articles of agreement that we will no longer have input in.

This will affect our representation on elementary school boards as well. While the state cannot force the closure of Black River, the school board of a newly merged district (i.e. the Green Mountain Unified School District) certainly could.

People who are interested in learning more or contributing to the process of establishing an independent school are encouraged to come to the ongoing meetings taking place on Tuesdays at 6:30 p.m. at the Black River High School Library.

The Black River Independent School Committee also has a Facebook page  and a website. There is hard work being done in the spirit of renewal and community and a “YES” vote will ensure that these efforts can continue.

The most important thing is that we stick together – Ludlow and Mount Holly, parents and students, teachers and community members. If we hold onto what truly matters – the education of our youth and a sense of community – nothing can shake us.


Kristen Garvey
Parent, LES

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  1. John Grady says:

    From the peak enrollment around 20 years ago Black River and Green Mountain High Schools have lost 40 percent of the pupils and to this day the status quo bunch says don’t change a thing while Vermont’s high taxes chase away people killing the economy. Where are the children supposed to find decent jobs if the economy is destroyed?

    Time to look into closing Green Mountain High School and use the building for k-6 or maybe k-8. The high school kids can go to other schools in the area and maybe two of the four elementary schools can be closed. Selling the closed schools would bring in money to fix up the ones that remain open.

    Black River might be able to hold all the 9-12 students from Chester, Andover, Mt Holly, Cavendish and Ludlow. That would leave the four elementary schools Chester, Cavendish, Ludlow and Mt Holly plus the empty Green Mountain building to set up k-8 schools.

    End result could be.
    9-12 at Black River
    k-8 at Green Mountain building
    k-8 in Ludlow if that elementary school building will hold the rest of the kids ? It might need to be expanded ?

    If that would work, three buildings could be sold. Mt. Holly, CAES and Cavendish, which could fund work on the two schools in Ludlow.