This article by Derek Carson originally appeared June 4 in the Bennington Banner.
ARLINGTON — The secretary of education did not recommend merger for the Arlington or Sandgate school districts in the report released last week, but whether or not the two districts will be allowed to continue operating as the Battenkill Valley Supervisory Union is still up in the air.
Should the State Board of Education follow the the recommendations of acting Secretary of State Heather Bouchey when it finalizes its statewide education plan in November, the Arlington and Sandgate School Districts would continue to exist. However, the secretary explicitly left open the possibility of the state board dissolving the BVSU and moving both districts into the Bennington-Rutland Supervisory Union.
Under Section 10 of Act 46, the education bill passed by the Vermont legislature in 2015, the secretary of education was to present a plan to the State Board of Education, making recommendations on how to merge districts that had too few students and had not yet merged voluntarily. Arlington and Sandgate both fell under that umbrella, as did the districts of the Southwest Vermont Supervisory Union to the south. That report was released to the public on Friday evening.
In the 189-page report, Arlington was one of 10 districts for which it was determined that a merger was not practicable, possible, or both, in this case due to Arlington’s geographic isolation from any other like-structured districts. While the non-operating Sandgate is near enough to three other non-operating districts, Searsburg, Stratton, and Winhall, that the secretary considered recommending a merger, the final decision was that Sandgate should remain a district, in part because a merger with Winhall and Stratton would increase the tax burden on Sandgate residents and provide little in terms of new opportunities for Sandgate students, according to the report.
Read full article at the Bennington Banner.
(Fair use with written permission from the New England Newspapers Inc.)