Milton Independent Letters to the EditorRick Dooley: My choice for school board

Milton is lucky to have a community leader like Rick Dooley, willing to step up and lead on the school board. He deserves our vote. I know this because I have worked and parented alongside Rick for over a decade. He capably led 2017’s Project Graduation effort last year, proving to me that you can juggle your professional life, family commitments and senior parent fundraising simultaneously. He is a multi-tasker and has been a role model for me as I am trying to lead the same effort  for this year’s PG2018. I regularly ask myself, “What would Rick do?” Rick thinks of the community first and is a very adept listener. And he always remains positive even in trying situations. Who better to be our voice on the school board!

Peter Hanna

Project Graduation 2018 chairman

and proud Miltonian

Support preschool programs

This letter is to encourage our community to continue to invest in the education and well-being of all our children, especially our youngest children.

As people are preparing to submit their votes for or against the town and school budgets, we want everyone to keep in mind that education and learning does not begin at age 5. Rather, learning begins the moment every child is born. Every interaction, every experience and every exposure, both good and bad, to something new is the education of a young child. Making sure all our children have the best early childhood experiences is something we all should be concerned about and supporting.

Being able to participate in a quality preschool program is an advantage to every preschool age child, and even more so for children from lower income homes. Research has shown that children who attend a full-day pre-kindergarten program do better in total school readiness. The town of Milton is fortunate to have several high quality preschool options available for our children, including the public prekindergarten programs provided directly by our school district. These preschool programs are making a huge positive difference for our children.

Unfortunately, even with these already existing programs, we do not have enough preschool programs to fully meet the needs of all our children. Please support our school district in its entirety to continue to support the education of all our children in our community. Let’s give all our children the support they need to be ready for school, and let’s continue to support our school in its ability to continue to support the positive growth and learning of our children from the early childhood years on through to their high school years. These children are our future.

Vikki Patterson

Executive director,

Milton Family Community Center

Karlo Salminen

Milton PATCH coordinator

School safety

We have all been shocked yet another school shooting. I asked myself, how safe are our schools and what can the school board do to make them safer.

The most important safety system that we have is our SRO, Cpl. Scott Philbrook. Last night [February 22], Cpl. Philbrook had his school safety meeting. After our school board meeting that night, I went to the high school and caught the tail end of his meeting. When I went up to ask how much another SRO would cost, I overheard a parent say, “I wish we could clone Cpl. Philbrook.” I talked to Milton Selectboard chairman Darren Adams and found out it would cost about $90,000 to hire another SRO. Chief Laroche and Cpl. Philbrook are supportive of the idea. The cost would be shared between the schools, the town and new state and federal grants.

Our schools have several other safety systems in place. We have controlled locks on all doors. They are locked during the school days. Recently, I read a long discussion on Facebook about the entrances. A major concern is the glass doors. They could be shattered by gunshots, allowing the shooter to get in quickly. Bullet resistant glass is an obvious solution, but it is expensive. Bullet resistant films are much less expensive. Another option is to put panels or slats on the doors that the shooter would have difficulty climbing over until the police arrive. The goal is to keep the shooter out of the building until the police arrive. Chief Laroche says officers will arrive in two minutes.

Clearly, hardening the entrances to the schools is a priority. Another priority is surveillance. Additional cameras had already been planned and ordered before the Florida massacre. We will be reviewing the system again. We must be sure staff and responding officers have the best and most useful views.

The new school board will have to look at these and other safety solutions that I haven’t thought of yet. The budget we are presenting is robust and flexible enough for us to implement the most effective solutions. With the help of grants that are being promised, we will be able to make our schools safer.

One final point about costs. We are asking the taxpayers to approve the purchase of the house adjoining school property. We are trading in district investments to purchase the house, a more useful investment. No tax dollars are needed to do this.

Greg Burbo

Milton school trustee