Woodford votes ‘No’ again on school merger, thwarting proposed Mount Anthony Unified School District

This article by Derek Carson originally appeared Jan. 9 in the Bennington Banner.

WOODFORD — Tuesday’s re-vote of the school district merger proposal in Woodford re-confirmed the initial results, and by an even wider margin.

In the initial vote, taken on Nov. 7, Woodford voted against the merger 36-38. This time, with higher higher turnout, the result was not quite as close, with 38 voting in favor and 58 opposed.

The merger would have created the Mount Anthony Unified School District out of Bennington, Shaftsbury, Woodford, and the Mount Anthony Union District, and would have assumed all of the assets and liabilities of those districts as of July 1, 2019. The new district would have been governed by a board, elected and proportioned similarly to the current MAU board, and would have been part of the Southwest Vermont Supervisory Union, along with Pownal and North Bennington’s elementary school districts.

Advocates of the proposed merger had hoped that Woodford would be the necessary third town to sign on and make the merger a reality, joining Bennington and Shaftsbury, both of which voted positively in November. Instead, the vote once again fell short, leaving the SVSU’s future in the hands of the State Board of Education and the secretary of education, as laid out in the law by Act 46 of 2015. Under that law, Secretary of Education Rebecca Holcombe and the state board will finalize their statewide education governance plan in November of this year, and in doing so have the authority to merge districts that have not yet merged voluntarily.

Read full article at the Bennington Banner.

(Fair use with written permission from the New England Newspapers Inc.)

Image courtesy of Southwest Vermont Supervisory Union

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