Access puts school, library at odds over public’s use
by Jack Deming
May 02, 2013 | 4238 views | 8 8 comments | 33 33 recommendations | email to a friend | print
READSBORO- The selectboard received a letter of resignation from library trustee Priscilla Margola this week, after an incident at the school regarding access to the community library. The selectboard denied her resignation request after Margola rescinded the letter. In the letter, dated April 22, Margola said she was attempting to enter the library, which is only accessible from inside the school. Margola said she was not allowed to enter through the main entrance because the school was using the library conference room and when she tried to enter through the classroom hallway, she was told she could not come in because she was an adult, and there were children present.

Margola also said she was “manhandled” by a woman who asked where she was going and brought her to the office, grabbing her by the arm. Margola said was given a badge to wear and was told to remain in the library until the children were gone before she could leave.

Margola’s letter pointed out there were no notices posted on any doors or bulletin boards that said she was not allowed to enter and she felt humiliated by the incident.

The library is different from others because it can only be accessed from inside the school by three doors: one in the main hallway, one in the main classroom hub, and one that connects to a classroom. Fire code does not allow for any of the doors to be locked, and there is no entrance from the parking lot. This has caused the school a great deal of concern, as in the past people have tried to leave the library through the classroom exit, and all schools in Vermont must abide by the Vermont school crisis plan.

Readsboro Central School principal Michael Heller said that the Vermont school board of insurance recently audited the building’s safety and the number one issue was public access to the hub of the school through the library. “I know it’s a community library,” said Heller, “but we’re trying to work out what we can do to keep the kids safe, while still keeping it open to the public and it’s hard. When parents drop their kids off, we’re entrusted with their care and safety, and if they’re in the library at the same time as community members, there are policies and procedures there, but also moral and ethical responsibilities.”

Heller explained that in some instances, the school uses the conference room for special needs students who might need quiet, or one-on-one help with a test. When the conference room is being used, visitors to the library have to use the main classroom hub hallway to access the library and must have a badge, for security reasons and because while on school grounds, all visitors must be accounted for in case of a lockdown or fire drill.

“The intention (of these measures) is not to create problems. We need all hands on deck, because we have to follow the Vermont school crisis guide. That’s our part.”

Margola said that if the incident was because of security measures, the rules should have been posted as to what and why. She also said the conference room does not belong to the school and she should not have been barred from entering through that entrance.

Heller said the school and library are in the process of brainstorming to come up with a solution for problems like these. He also said Margola was not “manhandled” but was angry about having to wear a badge

In other actions, the selectboard reviewed drafts of a timeline for the request for proposal for demolition of three houses on School Street that were left uninhabitable after flooding from Tropical Storm Irene eroded the Deerfield River embankment behind them.

Town administrator Mark Shea presented the request to the board for consideration and possible approval at next week’s meeting. If approved on May 8, the RFP would then be advertised May 15, with a site visit for interested parties on May 22. The response deadline for bidding would be June 19, with bidding beginning that evening. June 26 is the proposed date for a bid decision by the board, with a notice to proceed July 1. As of that date, the winning bidder must complete demolition within 60 days

The 60 days would end on August 30, almost exactly two years after Tropical Storm Irene swept into the Deerfield Valley.

One of the homeowners in attendance, Mary LeMaire, expressed that the town should make a point of advertising in multiple news and online sources, to ensure the town has multiple bids. The selectboard agreed, and Shea said that he would check on rules regarding FEMA’s policies on salvaging material from the houses.

Another element in formulating a formal FEMA buyout through the hazard mitigation grant program was appraisal of the properties, calculating their estimated worth before the flooding. The appraisal numbers, calculated by a private appraiser, are then sent to FEMA to calculate reimbursement. While Shea would not provide numbers, he did say the appraisals were positive. “It makes it that much more optimistic going forward seeing the numbers,” said Shea. “It’s better than it was yesterday, but it’s not over.” Each of the three property owners will be reimbursed for the pre-Irene value with FEMA providing a 75% share and a community development block grant providing 25%.

Superintendent of public works Barry Howes reported that the road crew was beginning to work on roads that have dried out, as well as cutting back a ditch at the intersection of Collins Road and Freezing Hole Road that has caused the roads to get muddy. Howes said he had met with engineers to test a water line installed on the temporary bridge on Tunnel Street, and put scaffolding in for the sewer line. Howes also told the board the road crew was waiting on numbers for paving an upper section of Bosley Hill Road that is in poor shape from Shippee Road down about six-tenths of a mile.
Comments
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clarence2
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May 11, 2013
I see a couple post meeting comments from people who seem disaapointed with whatever results came about from Tuesday's meeting, but neither poster or the Valley News has offered up any results.

Just what was there decision that seems to have you in a tizzy?
Cyndi1961
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May 09, 2013
As you can see I am not hiding behind an alias name I have nothing to hide. As far as Clarence2's comments the trustees did not look for publicity the reporter was at the select board meeting. Sympathy not needed ~ empathy perhaps for the people that can only see through rose colored glasses yes. The library has been here in Readsboro since 1898 and was a public library with its own location and then in 1962 when the school was built the town added on to the plan for a library and town office. Still the library was public then the school needed a library to meet standards and the two merged. So for you to say take and leave not sure if you know but the library is refurbished with shelving, dvds, circulation desk and yes 5 out of the 6 computers as well as over 60% of the book inventory that were funded by a grant for the public part of the library. So before you advise the school board to give the library walking papers consider what you are saying and what the children of Readsboro lose out on. Good comments Serenity1978 and hitinthehead. Perhaps if the two boards could sit and stop the control issue a happy compromise could be made.
Serenity1978
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May 09, 2013
It is sad to see so people that are against a Community Library. If safety is the main issue then there are many other parts of the building and procedures need to be addressed. While there is a sign asking you to check in at the office it is placed on the double doors that lead into the main school area. A person coming to the school has no way of knowing a procedure to follow right down to having to be buzzed in, as there is no sign directing you. As far as procedure there is no set procedure followed for signing in and visitor badges, it all depends on who you are, and still there is no way for a person coming to know what to do.

Perhaps instead if people skipped the personal attacks and opened their minds to new suggestions or compromise perhaps this "old" and tiring issue of the Library would not be ongoing. I have a hard time understanding how anyone could think that they have played any sympathy card or created a stir, they have only tried to continue to offer important services needed by the Community. Did you know that your Community Librarian would help you with employment searches and resume making? The Librarian seeks out and writes Grants that pays for most of the books and media that is there? They also sponsor events for all ages FREE to keep the Community engaged and active! A list of all the things that the Community Library does, has, and offers could go on and on. For anyone to be ignorant enough to want them to be handed "walking papers once and for all" obviously has no idea what an asset the Library is to the Community especially the youth, the future of the Community. Promotion of Life Long Learners and Literacy may start in the school, but the school can't offer many extras that parents need once the school day is done. There is a large number of parents and grandparents that the use the Library as way to set a positive example for their children, and to make learning fun and interactive.
clarence2
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May 04, 2013
I see their is a special school board meeting Tuesday night with these trustees. Maybe they will take some action and take steps to make sure our students are safe and not subjected to the behavior of this rogue trustee. Sure didnt take this board long to react to the select board not accepting the resignation. Maybe they will take the matter into there own hands.
wkenneth14
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May 03, 2013
There are several pieces missing in this article:

1) There is a sign that states: Visitors must check in at the front office.

2) On the day in question there was a sign posted on the Conference Room door.

3) Ms. Margola used foul language creating a large scene in the hallway and referred to the students of Readsboro in a very inappropriate manner.

4) Ms. Margola's resignation letter which was read at the Select Board meeting made no sense and was simply a personal attack on her part. She simply humiliated the entire Board of Library Trustees.

If you're going to report on a much debated topic make sure your report the story in it's entirety so we can have all of the facts.
hithardinthehead
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May 03, 2013
I can not believe there is still an issue, the town of Readsboro is imploding! I respect our school system and want to make it better, the library I know has been part of the school for years and yet the public has always accessed the library through the main doors to the school if a badge is what is needed I see nothing wrong with that. There is no reason to manhandle anyone, calm down people!! apologize to Priscilla and make sure there is that the sign is noted on the door that all visitors need to get a school pass, sign in at the office! as for security reasons if we didn't watch the news these days our world here in Readsboro would be awesome.. No everyone is just paranoid! Let's work on either making a valuable public library out of the school some place in town or put an access door to just the Library without entering the school. Make days where the school will use the library and where it can be closed to the public for the time being. God bless everyone and lets get this problem solved!
clarence2
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May 03, 2013
These Readsboro library issues are getting very old. Seems like every time something arises that has to be dealt with they start an issue with the school board, create a stir, and get the media involved in a ploy to generate public sympathy. The bottom line is there is a security question before the school board and these library people do not want to address any changes they may be required to make. They pulled this same stunt when there was a discussion to put in a security buzzer at the school's entrance because they were not allowed to make the final decision. Hopefully the board will give them their walking papers once and for all.
clarence2
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May 05, 2013
Het,hithardinthehead, have you been hit in the head too many times yourself?

If you read what kenneth says and put that together with the content of this article, I would say Ms Margola is defintely the person who has some apologizing to do.

She owes a sincere apology to the Principal, the Administrative Asst, the teachers and most importantly the students of Readsboro who had to witness and endure her senseless tirade.

The remaining trustees should be ashamed they let her back once she resigned.