In Vermont's rural communities, district schools are struggling with the future of their small schools and declining enrollment. In each town, residents worry not just about the quality of their children's education, but about losing their identity as a community.
For example, the Addison Central School District is seeing their student population shrink and officials are saying that the numbers are unsustainable, because now some buildings need major repairs.
District leaders are starting to talk about closing and consolidating schools. According to Laurie Cox, 69, current chairwoman of the town Selectboard, they just feel vulnerable because they're the 'smallest'.
The Burlington Free Press takes action and will explore how rural communities beyond Vermont are navigating an age of shrinking schools.
Granted with funding from the Solutions Journalism Network in New York City, the Free Press will visit small towns across the country in search of strategies.
Issues that needed to be tackled include: enrollment dropping, funding schools, rising school costs, school spending, and towns rallying after school closures.
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