Dublin Educational Advisory Committee gathering input at ice cream social, public forum

DEAC member Jesse Marcum presents findings on district tax apportionment.

DEAC member Jesse Marcum presents findings on district tax apportionment. —STAFF PHOTO BY CAMERON CASHMAN

By CAMERON CASHMAN

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

Published: 05-23-2024 12:04 PM

The Dublin Education Advisory Committee (DEAC) has set its plans to get input on education in Dublin from the community, which they decided is necessary before writing a letter or making a presentation to the ConVal Feasibility Study Committee.

The DEAC will have a booth outside the Dublin Consolidated School Parent Teacher Organization’s (PTO) ice cream social and silent auction on June 6 at 5 p.m., where they will give information and answer questions for interested attendees, as well as publicize a larger forum June 13 at 5:30 p.m. This forum will allow the DEAC to update the community on its progress and get more-specific feedback from local parents and residents.

At the DCS PTO auction and ice cream social, “the primary goal is to get people to show up [to the forum],” DEAC member Blake Anderson said. “The secondary goal is to have people understand it’s not just an invitation to parents and kids at Dublin Consolidated School, it’s an invitation to grandparents, voters, taxpayers, neighbors, middle school parents and high school parents.”

DEAC Select Board liaison Carole Monroe said she hopes to communicate why the committee was established, the group’s mission and an update on where the DEAC is in the ongoing process of determining the best method of public education for Dublin residents.

At the DEAC-hosted forum one week later, the goal is to get input and feedback from local residents. The DEAC is currently developing a survey that will be handed out, and members also discussed a presentation.

Committee Chair Jay Schechter expressed interested in a PowerPoint presentation, and while members of the group were open to the idea, there was some concern about length after Select Board Chair Chris Raymond suggested they focus on listening to residents rather than making a presentation.

Ultimately, it was decided that a short presentation was necessary to guide the discussion and present the data, which the DEAC hopes will be a contrast to the consolidation recommendation report produced by Prismatic, a consulting firm hired by ConVal to determine the best way to save money in the school district.

The Prismatic study determined that potentially closing local elementary schools in Bennington, Temple, Francestown and Dublin would be the best way to reduce costs in the district, but a proposal to change the district’s Articles of Agreement that would have authorized those closures was voted down in March.

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As a response to the threat of their elementary schools being closed, petition warrant articles were submitted and passed in Dublin and Francestown directing the ConVal School Board to determine the feasibility of the towns withdrawing from the district.

Under state law, approval for a feasibility study requires the district to form a committee, which will prepare a report for the state Board of Education to either recommend or not recommend withdrawal, with minority opinion allowed. If the state board approves a withdrawal plan, residents will vote, and withdrawal can pass either by majority vote in a town looking to withdraw and across the district as a whole, or by three-fifths vote in a town seeking to withdraw, unless three-fifths of voters across the district disapprove.

The DEAC was formed to advise the Dublin Select Board on the best method of providing public education to Dublin residents. While they feel the withdrawal feasibility study is necessary to give Dublin more freedom with education in town, they have not yet decided on the best method of education.