A Special School Choice Report: Going Independent in Vermont

by Rob Roper

Faced with the prospect of losing their local elementary school to consolidation plans out of Montpelier, the town of North Bennington took matters into their own hands. The voters of the town decided overwhelmingly to empower the school board to close their local public school and open an new, independent school in its place.

The Ethan Allen Institute hosted a forum honoring school choice advocate and Nobel Prize winning economist Milton Friedman featuring the key players in North Bennington’s efforts. This three part video series is a consolidation of that presentation.

Part 1: Why?

Thomas Martin, the principal of the existing public school and the principal designate for the impending independent school explains the history and thought process behind how the North Bennington community came to its decision.

Part 2: How?

Eva Sutton, co-chair of the VNSB board of trustees and also the Dean of Students at Bennington College, walks us through the process of how North Bennington is closing its local public elementary school and opening an independent school in its place.

Part 3: Success!

Daren Houck, Head of School for the Mountain School at Winhall, describes the story behind his school’s success after going independent over a decade ago. And why more school districts around the state are contemplating similar action.