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.
The Agency of Education has recommended 18 consolidations for school districts that haven’t yet merged in accordance with Act 46. But of 43 districts or groups of districts that filed “Section 9” proposals for alternative governance structures, 22 shouldn’t have to merge, according to a report released Friday.
Vermont’s education funding law Act 60/68 needs to be revisited and repealed. It has exacerbated the increase in taxes by creating a fund that is too often subject to raids by duplicitous politicians. Local control, including education financing, could be returned to the local citizenry, where it rightfully belongs.
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.”
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.
“If I fail with this lawsuit there will be no local control of schools in Vermont. This is a last stand. This is it.”
The Vermont League of Cities and Towns is asking lawmakers to review Act 46 to hold the education governance law accountable to its promises.
Another proposed district merger has failed, and now a handful of schools in Windsor County face an uncertain future as the next Act 46 deadline approaches.
A group of active and former school board members are behind a complaint to the U.S. Department of Justice alleging that Act 46 violates numerous federal laws.
Like Washington Central Supervisory Union, about 100 districts have not merged under Act 46 and have no scheduled merger vote. Of that number, around 40 are weighing an alternative governance structure.