Forum for Feb. 23, 2024: Hartford admins back DeBalsi

Published: 02-23-2024 5:11 PM

Hartford administrators support DeBalsi

Last Friday morning the Valley News ran an article that referenced a letter that Hartford School District administrators attempted to read at the Feb. 14 Hartford School Board meeting (“School leaders protest search,” Feb. 16). We felt that it was important to share the full text of the letter with the community because it speaks to concerns about the ongoing superintendent search and the need for transparency from the School Board. Given the board’s response to our intention to read the letter, we want to be clear that the letter is not a referendum on our current superintendent. In fact, our Administrative Council met Feb. 15 to process the previous night’s board meeting. We are entering an unprecedented budget cycle. Superintendent DeBalsi has led us down a thoughtful path to consider how to move through these challenges while remaining committed to our goals of equity and supporting all children. We support his leadership through this process and throughout the implementation of the budget next year.

Brian Boardman

Interim principal
Hartford Memorial Middle School

Amelia Donahey

Principal, Ottauquechee School

Rick Dustin-Eichler

Principal, Dothan Brook School

Scott Farnsworth

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Assistant director, HACTC;

Nelson Fogg

Principal, Hartford High School

Benjamin Gardner

Assistant principal, Hartford High School

Doug Heavisides

Principal, The Wilder School

Sarah Hisman

Interim Assistant Principal,
Hartford Memorial Middle School

Doug Kussius

Principal, White River School

Julia Lau

District Equity Coordinator

Jeff Moreno

Assistant principal, Hartford High School

Julie Robinson

Elementary curriculum director

Erica Rogstad

Interim director of special education

Carrie Russell

District social worker

Erika Schneider

Director, HACTC

William Slammon

Clinical Director

Caty Sutton

Secondary curriculum director

Aron Tomlinson

Director of workforce development, HACTC

Haverhill should shun SB2

I was honored to live in Haverhill for 36 years and to represent it for 12 years in the state Legislature. Last year, my wife and I sold our home in Pike and moved to West Lebanon to be closer to our son and grandson. So, of course, I am no longer voting in Haverhill elections. But I still care about this special community and urge Haverhill citizens to vote against SB2.

Town Meeting was always a special time in Haverhill as neighbors came together to discuss, debate and vote on issues important to the town. If voters approve SB2, that will be the end of traditional town meeting, replacing it with a deliberative session followed by voting on all warrant articles via paper ballot on the same day you vote for town officers.

Remember the confusion when there was no town meeting during COVID and people voted on warrant articles by paper ballot? Voting for SB2 would make that situation permanent. Some will argue that more people will vote, but open debate and discussion will be lost. Traditional town meeting, has worked well in Haverhill. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!

Doug Teschner

West Lebanon

Vote ‘no’ on Fairlee
short-term rental proposal

On Feb. 24, Fairlee residents will be asked by a group of petitioners to rescind the ordinance enforcing regulations governing short-term rental (STR) properties. The issuance of ordinances to enforce town bylaws is a responsibility as well as a prerogative of Vermont selectboards, and petitioning to rescind them is a legitimate right of residents. But voters should understand: The regulation of STR properties is not at issue here, only the enforcement ordinance.

Regulation of STRs was approved by a large majority of voters on July 11, 2023 as part of the amended Fairlee Unified Development Bylaws (UDB) after a two-year public drafting and vetting process and is not up for rescission. The ordinance, issued by the Selectboard in November 2023, simply authorizes the town to enforce these regulations at a local level, saving both the taxpayers and property owners a potentially lengthy, costly, and less flexible legal process at the state level.

I urge Fairlee residents to vote no to rescission of the short-term rental ordinance at the Town Hall, Saturday Feb. 24 at 1 p.m.

Copies of the ordinance and the UDB can be found in the Town Office and on the Fairlee website ( Direct specific questions to Town Administrator Ryan Lockwood, 802-333-4363 ext. 2 or

Lynne Fitzhugh