As a current Readsboro School board chair (and parent of children attending the school), I would like to thank Larry Hopkins for his service over the years. Larry has a keen intellect when it comes to budgetary issues, and the school has been better for it because of his dedication. I wish Larry the best and look forward to his positive contributions even though he is no longer on the board. Larry’s recent inflammatory letter deserves a response, however.
First, as recently elected school board chair, I am encouraging the board to work with the school community as a partner, rather than an adversary.
I will not, therefore, use hand-picked quotes from emails Mr. Hopkins has sent to me over the last year to support my arguments in the following sentences.
Second, last year the Readsboro School Board’s chair, Larry Hopkins, following the recommendations of Principal Heller, strongly endorsed the introduction of window tint. The tint was proposed and accepted for “safety” reasons and on the premise that it was temporary until permanent and more energy efficient windows could be installed. I raised my objections to the tint, as did other parents and teachers, based on scientific evidence that suggests that the denial of natural light in classrooms is harmful to the physical and mental well-being of children and adults.
The school board recently voted by a 2-1 margin to remove the tint. The decision was based on our experience as educators and our consultations with many principals and superintendents (including several who provide advice to schools regarding “safety” issues).
Curtains, in our opinion, provide a reasonable alternative to tinted windows in that they can be closed for safety purposes while not denying children and staff the natural light they need to thrive.
Third, our newest school board member, according to people who have communicated with me, was voted onto the school board because of her ideas, vision, and tone, not because of her politics. Mr. Hopkin’s suggestion that “politics” and pressure are what led him to receive fewer votes in the last election speaks for itself.
Finally, I am not sure how Mr. Hopkins came to make direct links to tint and higher NECAP scores-seems like a stretch to someone who studies test scores for a living. His argument about taxpayer savings from the tint, as well, seems lacking based on the research we have done.
Many positive things are happening at the Readsboro School and I do hope we can move on to more pressing issues.