A vocal crowd of 70 people showed up at a committee meeting of the Burlington school board last week to speak out about Edmunds accessibility. Most of the school board and administrators were there, and one-third of the City Council stayed for more than an hour asking questions and adding their voice to this issue. Two legal experts spoke about the relevant federal and state laws, including ADA, IDEA and Section 504, making it clear that our school district is not in compliance with the law.
But the most compelling words were spoken by the people... our elders, our children, our teachers, our neighbors. People told of their shock upon learning that Edmunds, Vermont's most prominent public school building, essentially bars children and community members who use wheelchairs from entering.
The good news is that we're making real progress together (update here) and that it's easy for you to weigh in. Our school leaders need to know what you think about Edmunds accessibility. If you've spoken up in the past, please do so again now. And this is a community-wide challenge, so we need to include a wide array of elected officials. Please take all or some of the steps below and send the loud and clear message that...
"Edmunds school should have been made accessible decades ago. We're closer than ever before to finally getting this critical job done. Please actively add your support to the construction of Edmunds' first elevator, to be installed by 2010. Please also help direct city, state and/or federal funds to this project."
1. Attend the next full school board meeting. Just be present or speak up during the public comment period. May 19, 2009, 7 PM, Burlington High School cafeteria.
2. Write letters to the editors of the Burlington Free Press and Seven Days. Also, alert your neighbors about this issue via Front Porch Forum, and comment on the Seven Days blog post and Free Press article online.
3. Contact Burlington School Commissioners.
4. Contact Mayor Kiss.
5. Contact Burlington City Councilors.
6. Contact Governor Douglas.
7. Contact your Vermont State Reps. and State Senators.
8. Contact Vermont's Congressional Delegation: Sen. Leahy, Sen. Sanders, Rep. Welch.
9. Keep up to date... subscribe to this blog.