Tuesday’s re-vote of the school district merger proposal in Woodford re-confirmed the initial results, and by an even wider margin.
When Act 46 was signed into law in 2015, no one knew exactly what to expect from the law that promised to overhaul the way the state’s education system was governed.
With Vermont set to pay $31 million in incentives for districts that agreed to merge under the state’s education consolidation law, critics of Act 46 say the payouts are unfair and hurt poor rural areas.
“If we keep it open as a public school, the discussion will not end, we will be at this again and again. … (But) if we turn Black River into an independent school, its destiny is in the hands of the community, not the Vermont Agency of Education.”
A re-count of votes in Pownal on whether or not to merge five local school districts confirmed the results reported earlier this month.
The merger proposal that would have created the Mount Anthony Unified School District out of the Bennington, Pownal, Shaftsbury, Woodford, and Mount Anthony Union school districts has failed.
If the proposal does not pass, each district’s board would need to report to the State Board of Education in December on ways they are already meeting Act 46’s goals.
Education leaders met at the Capitol Plaza Hotel on Wednesday to discuss public education “that works for all children.” Speakers at the conference addressed equity, special needs and Act 46.
On Nov. 7 voters of Bennington, Pownal, Shaftsbury, and Woodford will be asked to decide whether or not to adopt a proposal that would bring their schools into compliance with Act 46 by merging the districts into a single pre-K through 12 district with one board and one budget.