School board members say the plan, which would send middle school students to Bethel and high school students to Royalton, is the last, best option for residents to comply with Act 46.
Taking advantage of a new legislative provision, residents OK’d withdrawing from a regional education district to preserve school choice and pursue alternative Act 46 solutions.
Royalton, Bethel and Rochester voters have been unable to agree on a consolidation plan through several votes. Now officials say a clause in their proposal offers new options.
(This story is by the Valley News, in which it first appeared June 30, 2017.) TUNBRIDGE — Residents on Thursday rejected a proposed school merger with Chelsea, the latest development in a series of consolidation votes this year in the White River Valley. The vote was 164-160. Tunbridge residents on April 11 initially approved the […]
Proponents say it will ease tax burdens for residents of both towns, but especially tiny Roxbury. Voters in Montpelier also will decide on an unrelated tax stabilization question.
Rochester is already well along in the process of finding a merger partner, but some residents wonder if new options written into the law let them back up and go a different way.
Residents met this week to hear about their options, which also hinge on what happens in a revote in Rochester that’s scheduled after theirs.
One would join Montpelier — with more than 1,000 students — and tiny Roxbury even though they aren’t adjacent. Residents in another area have conditioned their approval on tax breaks.
Last month’s no vote not only affected Royalton and its merger partners, but also prevented other towns from realizing their merger plans.
In Caledonia County, several districts would combine only if another merger or a change in statute comes about that would result in tax breaks. The board also OK’d proposals in southern Vermont.
One of the residents said she was convinced a revote was needed when community members began telling her they voted against the plan without understanding all the facts.
Some had argued the standards for districts that couldn’t or didn’t want to merge were more stringent than the rules for those that were uniting under the law.
The panel accommodated requests from more than 30 House members to add more language from H.15, a bill once described as offering so much flexibility as to gut the intent of Act 46.
Lawmakers are trying to create more options for parts of the state that have not found it easy to meet the goals of the school district merger law.