Signs of a Town Divided

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In case you’ve been a hermit for the last few months, I’d like to let you know that our towns have a vote today. Simply put, the question is whether or not the voters of Pawlet and Rupert want to approve the school merger plan. The plan consolidates our school districts, does not designate any particular high school, and would keep us part of the BRSU (Bennington Rutland Supervisory Union.) Polls open at 10AM and close at 7PM. There will also be the opportunity to vote for members of the new merged school board.

If you harbor any doubt that our two towns are a bit -ah- conflicted about the school merger vote today, all you need to do is take a little sightseeing tour of the area. The signs are everywhere. Literally.

I have to give the “NO” signs points for better creativity and enthusiasm… you’ll notice many of the signs say “no” as many as six or eight times. 

The yes signs are out in abundance too, but most of them don’t even say “yes” on them… which I thought was a little weird.

And then there are the defaced signs. I ran across two prominent signs which had been spray painted with red cross-out symbols to forcibly transform them from “yes” to “no”…

See what I mean? Conflicted. I don’t know what the results of today’s vote will be, but can we all agree that this debate has gone on for far too long and been far too debilitating to the fabric of our community?

For my part, I now know that there are some folks in town who will never think I’m a “real” resident, for a variety of arbitrary reasons- I moved here, my whole family doesn’t live here, I don’t work in a local business- and I’m kind of sorry to know that. I liked my illusion better: that we all lived in one town and despite our differences, despite our debates, we could all agree on one thing: we are a community. And a damn good one at that.

So okay. I still love my town, even if every last inch of it might not love me back. I can live with that. No matter the results of today’s vote, there will still be kids in Pawlet, and Rupert too. They’ll still go to school, and we still care about them all.

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