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Contested School Board Election: Please Vote Tuesday

Hi All! I wanted to let you know that I am running for school board in Putney, please come vote from 10am-7pm at the Putney Central School Gym on Tuesday, March 5th, or vote early on Monday at Town Hall 9am-4pm. Please also join me in supporting Tim Morris and Liz Adams for the contested school board seats. Please see my Letter to the Editor below for why I am running, supporting Liz and Tim, and what I will bring to the board. Thank you for
your consideration!

My name is Jaime Contois and I am running for the Putney Town School Board, out of a love for our community and school.

Our love of Putney and its thriving public school is why my wife and I bought our home here, had our two children here, and planted fruit trees on our land. We want to invest in a future in Putney. We want our community and our school to thrive.

Our school is our children, our teachers, our gathering space for community suppers, sports, plays, and PTO and town meetings. I am so proud of our school’s commitment to food security for all families in our town, the creativity in which we implement opportunities for kids to grow, share, and learn.

I am also running out of a concern of the forced merger in our region, the process of dissolving our local school boards in Guildford, Brattleboro, Dummerston and Putney into one giant super board. Our local school boards could be dissolved by July depending on the pending court decision.

During the last couple years I have researched, voted, and shared ideas for how we could move forward without dissolving our school boards. From my research I grew concerned the cost savings being touted could only be met through the reduction of staff, benefits, and closing schools. We are already seeing examples of this statewide: moving grades out of schools, busing kids to other towns despite community opposition, reducing staff/teachers, lost programming, increased costs due to the cost of centralizing power. Here in our region we are already doing additional administrative hires, while discussing closing area middle schools, and sharing classroom staff among schools. All the while teachers and staff are being told that this merger makes their job safer.

My 15 years as a community organizer allows me to work alongside low and middle income people towards public policy that helps families put food on the table, afford a home, have access to affordable health/dental care and be paid a living wage. As an environmental educator, I have worked with children from toddlers through high school exploring the natural world. My previous board work includes co-founding the Monadnock Food Co-op and the Monadnock International Film Festival. Locally I have helped coordinate the Windham County ACLU People Power group anti-racism efforts within our region.

I will bring this and my desire to challenge the national narrative pushing towards privatization and the defunding of public education.

The positive aspects of working with other school districts, teachers, and sharing resources is available to us without dissolving our school boards. We have examples of this locally with how Putney and Dummerston Select are working together on the gravel pit project without having to dissolve their Town boards.

I am running alongside two other people in Putney that share these concerns, Tim Morris and Liz Adams. Please join me in supporting them in the contested one year spots on the PCS Board.

Our goal is to work together to strengthen our democratic process, expand access to information, build transparency and shared leadership. Respecting the will of voters. Our community voted over 2-to-1 to oppose the merger, as did other communities. Yet, that vote was ignored. I will listen to the will of the voters of Putney. I want to represent our community vote and protect our schools.

Jaime Contois

Putney, VT

cell 603.504.2906