At least 21 school districts are considering going to court if the Agency of Education forces mergers on them, and they’ve got a group of lawyers ready to go.
The candidate who made national headlines for winning six primary election contests in August is waging an even bigger battle in Vermont’s highest court: the battle over Act 46.
Holland residents voted to close their school in part to protest what they perceive to be the state’s overreach into local affairs, as well as to preserve their community.
Vilaseca explained that “after seven or eight years, if the districts haven’t joined together, then the State will come in.” He did not mean that the state would “come in” with preaching and incentives. He meant that the state would come in with a Big Hammer.
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.
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 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.
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.
The ruling elite of all parties in Vermont have doubled down on this approach with the coercive and tyrannical Act 46. The political promises of reduced costs, lower taxes, equality of education and increased opportunities were false. The exact opposite result is happening. The next phase of Act 46 will be Gov. Scott’s school closing commission. This for me is unacceptable.