School districts that are considering closing their schools are in a race against time. They must act before they are merged with other districts, because once these districts are forced to merge, they lose their autonomy and authority to govern their district.
Judge Robert Gerety will decide whether attorneys present more evidence in a case against the state by the town of Whitingham, a student and a taxpayer. The plaintiffs allege the school funding system creates inequity regarding education quality and tax rates.
The draft articles of agreement provide protection against closure for two academic years, 2019-20 and 2020-21, unless the closure is approved by voters living in the town where the school is located.
While the state government doubles down on implementing forced school district mergers under Act 46, a host of local residents and stakeholders are threatening to close down schools rather than subject them to the Act 46 process.
On Primary Day, voters in Groton, Wells River and Ryegate voted to close Blue Mountain Union School to prevent a Montpelier-forced merger.
The appointment of French, who for nine years was superintendent of the Bennington-Rutland Supervisory Union, was announced on Thursday by Gov. Phil Scott at the Statehouse in Montpelier.
The struggle between the Agency of Education and Cabot over what to do with its school system only got more complicated now that the state is rejecting the community’s proposal for an alternative district.
Washington Central Supervisory Union’s six school boards are in for a struggle with the Agency of Education over whether they will be forced to merge their boards and budget.
Paul Normandeau, of Dummerston, said the proposed plan shows “a complete lack of respect” for voters in the four towns “who overwhelmingly voted against merging along with the many other towns that rejected [a] merger.”
“I don’t think the state has a clue what is best for the children and residents of Windham when it comes to education,” he told the Reformer. “To think we will have one representative on an 11-person board is a joke.”
Here’s a proposal to rein in costs, reinstate some measure of local control and inject accountability into the process: Have the Legislature set a uniform per-pupil spending level, but allow local school boards full rein over how to best spend the money, free from state-level interference.