By Guy Page
Last summer, young mom and part-time assistant teacher Liz Cady of Essex Town told the local school board her concerns about school spending, remote learning and Black Lives Matters.
The response was not encouraging.
“I was told by a current board member this past summer, board members have no obligation to ask the community for input; if the community doesn’t like their decisions, the community can vote them out at election time,” Cady said on her school board campaign website. “It is time to do just that.”
And run, she did. Tuesday, April 13, Liz Cady won a three-year seat, beating the six-year incumbent, a self-described racial and climate justice activist named Liz Subin.
Dissatisfied with the ‘hybrid learning’ response to the pandemic, part-time teacher Cady and her active-duty military husband withdrew their children from public schools last summer.
As she explains on her campaign website, “I have witnessed firsthand that our current board’s priorities are not what I hope for my children, or any children, to receive out of public education. We made the decision for our children to leave the Essex Westford School District in the summer of 2020 when it became clear the board’s focus was not upon returning our children to the classroom, nor were they willing to listen and respond to community input.”
“As a taxpayer, I have been underwhelmed with the Board’s fiscal decisions, especially as they offer little transparency or desire to consult the community before making these decisions,” she added.
Cady also cited budgetary concerns with the board as a reason she pursued election. A surplus of $4.5 million is part of the $80 million 2022 fiscal year budget the board has put forth. She sees this surplus as worthy of further discussion, as she notes the number of students in the EWSD is decreasing.
Voters were given a clear choice between fiscal/decision-making reformer Cady and the incumbent Subin, who played an integral role as clerk of the Executive Board, saying during the election “I have very much enjoyed being part of those executive meetings and the agenda planning that comes with it.”
The suburban Chittenden County voters of Essex picked Cady over Subin after a campaign in which Cady was crystal clear on two controversial topics.
Cady supports school choice:
“Tuition vouchers and school choice make private schools affordable for all income levels,” she says on her campaign website. “A student in one of my son’s classes at EWSD needed a different learning environment. It was not due to a lack of trying on the teacher’s part; it simply came down to that student needed a different avenue than traditional school. That student’s parents took on additional jobs in order to have enough money to send their child to a private school. Parents know best what helps their child learn. Within a month of changing, the parent reported to me that their child was doing so much better, and it was worth having to work extra jobs. With tuition vouchers/school choice, those parents would not have had to take on extra jobs in order to provide the education best suited for their child.”
She encourages Vermonters to sign a school choice petition begun in Essex.
Cady supports equality and opposes the Black Lives Matter organization:
“The founders are self-proclaimed Marxists with a stated goal ‘to disrupt the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure.’ What is a nuclear family? That’s a family unit of two parents and their children living together, regardless of race, religion, creed, or any other defining characteristics. I cannot support an organization that seeks to dismantle the concept of two parents living a life with their children.
“The organization pushes and praises violence and destruction. I do not condone violence and destructive behavior, but I certainly do support peaceful discussion and demonstration. I believe many people fall into the latter category, but the organization BLM has chosen to push the first category many times over. I cannot support that choice.
“In the summer of 2020, I was very vocal about encouraging our students to come up with their own flag to symbolize what equality and racial awareness means for Essex and Westford specifically. The BLM organization’s flag is a nationally recognized symbol that ultimately has the above two points directly tied to it. The organization’s flag is not unique to our community, and we cannot take their nationally recognized symbol and change it to mean something different. I believe our students and our community have the capability and creativity to develop our own flag or other symbolic gesture, to unite people in a positive manner.”