‘We need a real school’: Congressman Peter Welch visits Burlington High School to discuss aging Vermont public schools

By Abbie Kopelowitz | Community News Service

Vermont U.S. Rep. Peter Welch visited Burlington High School’s temporary downtown campus on Monday to discuss the $1.75 trillion social spending bill before Congress and the proposed $1 trillion infrastructure bill.

Burlington High School has been in session in the old Macy’s building near the Church Street Marketplace since March, challenging school leaders and students alike to adapt to their new location. Some students meeting with Welch admitted their discomfort with this new campus, but said they ultimately accepted the situation.

U.S. House of Representatives

U.S. Rep. Peter Welch, D-Vt.

“As I look around, we need a new school for the kids. The situation you have is extreme,” he said to those gathered for his visit.

In detailing his experiences in Washington, Vermont’s lone congressman expressed optimism for passing the landmark legislation awaiting action in Congress. He stressed that a lot of work has gone into reaching an agreement on both sides.

Congressman Peter Welch on a break from Washington D.C. visits with high school students and staff in Burlington to share his optimism that federal funding could become available for school construction projects. Burlington needs to replace its high school after BHS was closed do to extensive contamination from PCBs. Photo by Abbie Kopelowitz
“A lot of us in Congress are trying to get money from the federal government to help out, not to pay for the whole pie, but to help out,” he said.

Through negotiations, the cost of the package has gone from $3.5 to $1.75 trillion. Welch said he is trying to get some of this money back to help with school infrastructure, arguing that federal investment is necessary to relieve local tax burdens.

“It’s actually not only affordable, but doable,” Welch says, “We spent 8 trillion dollars on three wars in the Middle East. Maybe we ought to find a little money for school construction.”

Democratic leaders believe that an initial vote on these spending bills could happen as soon as this week.

In Vermont, the state more than a decade ago ended its practice to contribute funding to local school construction projects. That has left districts on their own to address infrastructure projects to maintain and update aging school facilities. A study in 2019 found more than $500 million in public school renovations and upgrades needed across the state.

The Community News Service is part of the Reporting and Documentary Storytelling Program at the University of Vermont.

Image courtesy of U.S. House of Representatives

14 thoughts on “‘We need a real school’: Congressman Peter Welch visits Burlington High School to discuss aging Vermont public schools

  1. What we need is “REAL” representatives that uphold our God given and Constitutional rights. When Peter Welch was Vermont Senate Pro Tempore in the 1980’s, the Federal Government withheld highway funds if States did not raise the drinking age 21. He told me in the State House hall, outside the Legislative Council, that the rule was federal overreach – the feds had no business forcing States to change laws by withholding funds. How time has changed this politician’s point of view. He flushed his law degree in favor of stock tips from Nancy Pelosi.

  2. Just another globalist trying to get contracts for his gov’t contract buddies…
    Destroying architecture that would otherwise stand for centuries (and has) is the sign of a small mind with no vision, and definitely no sense of ‘build it right in the first place and you never have to tear it down’.
    What ain’t broke don’t need fixin’.
    I am so sick of being represented by (are they even human anymore?) leaders who live in DC and only come back to VT for glad handing, and otherwise are on their yachts, or in the planes, or Mercs or even worse, the EVs, plugged into the DC teat like their lives depend on it, undermining the self-reliance, the resiliency and the independence of Vermonters.
    I remember when the one room wood school house built sometime in the early 1800s that we owned was used as a fire fighting exercise for the town fire dept. We could really use that one room school house with slate boards, a big woodstove, and a cellar where neighbors stored apples and maple syrup, for those homeschoolers now desperately trying to escape the goons coming for our children’s minds and bodies.
    We need representatives of the people, not globalist sycophants following Wetiko.

    • I can’t help but wonder what Welch means by ‘real school.’
      You mean, up until now, all the schools in Vermont have been fake?
      Hmmm…more of that DC Satanic language inversion?

  3. The state of VT condemmed a school building in South Royalton in the mid 60’s, and then what happened??? The VT Law School acquired this property as part of their complex of properties for the active campus. This building is still going strong today.
    So really now, the same old liberal concept in play here? You tell me, is it not CONTROL and MONEY?

      • This is an awesome example! In Hancock they made it a town Hall!

        They’lol get more exposure from their pizza box and Teflon cookware at home….so me the science.

        We would be much, much better served with our old one room school houses, Internet and a chaperone. Would be greener and less money.

        We’ve completly lost our minds.

  4. If the leftist and Rino swamp didn’t pack bills with 1000’s of new regulations and spying on citizens laws and greenie weenieisms they could pass affordable bills..
    Just because we spent 8 trillion on wars don’t mean we can flush 4 trillion on crap
    swamp wet dreams… Time to put all 3 stoogies back into civilian life. They’ve
    become to distanced from reality living in the confines of the swamp.. Though they
    were pretty swampy to begin with…

  5. Millions have gone to school in 50 + year old buildings and came out fine. Of course they had ‘Americans’ teaching them, instead of commies, controlled by the deep state that hides in Mountstupid.

  6. Welch is a typical woke democrat that insults his constituents by dangling this cookie front of them and thinking they’ll bite because they’re ignorant. The structure of the school system in Vermont is very poor, not so much the buildings. The most successful education systems in the world, Canada, Australia, Finland, et al, all put lots of money into high quality teachers’ professional development and then put the responsibility of teaching children at the school level and not the state level. That’s where the money should go.

  7. Funny how UVM can do very well with 100 + year old schools, but these 40 and 50 year old schools need replacement?

    Do we do that with your house too? Biggest pile of manure delivered today. I’m sure there will be more tomorrow.

  8. Welch is just another BS artist from DC, they always tell you want to hear, and rarely
    do you get what you wanted……..

    I assume he was telling these students the $3.5 & $1.5 spending bill be brought forth
    is what we need, I bet he didn’t tell them that they’ll be on the hook to pay it back there
    entire working life, but wait feckless joe says it’s already paid for ” zero cost ” …..sure !!

    Welch is just a minion for feckless Joe’s administration, he’s just a follower

  9. Interesting that this article, er… press release is from the UVM Reporting and Documentary Story-Telling program. Mr. Welch is adept at storytelling, he’s made a career of it. Should not Welch, as a member of the majority party in Congress be able to wrangle a few million away from say, Afghan Gender Studies? Perhaps a million or two less for new seats at the Kennedy Center? I’d never think to ask him to take money from Pelosi’s pet programs, like the 200 million earmarked for Presido Park in San Francisco or 16 million spent for the Salt Marsh Harvest Mouse in 2009- but he ought to be able to speak up and get a few bucks for his socialist constituents in Burlington to fix a school.
    If Welch wants to play in the swamp, he ought to bring back a meager trophy to Vermont once in a while….

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