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.
Three candidates who have said they’re open to or support the concept of a regional school district were elected in place of three skeptics or outright opponents.
Nearly 60 percent of Vermont students now live, or will soon be living, in a unified district, according to the administration.
The merger passed in every town by at least a 2-to-1 margin, according to an official. It will combine districts in nine towns into one, with about 1,700 students.
Voters in Windham Central Supervisory Union accepted one school district merger but rejected another. In Windham Northeast, a merger of four towns failed.
Voters this week will consider everything from Burlington’s $19 million school improvement plan to Brattleboro’s proposed ban on plastic shopping bags.
Residents in 57 school districts will vote Tuesday on whether to merge into 10 larger districts. If all are approved, Vermont will shed two supervisory unions.
The supervisory union’s Act 46 study committee has decided not to push for a controversial merger vote. Instead, it will ask the State Board of Education for advice on how to move forward.
As residents weigh a district consolidation, legislators are telling them not to expect changes in the law that would eliminate the pressure to merge.
It plans to continue work on an alternative that would offer school districts new options while stopping short of making it easier for them to avoid merging.
The legislation would help districts comply with the law through “alternative structures” if they don’t readily fit into a merger. By one count, 82 towns face that challenge.
Voters will be asked to approve the Act 46 merger involving as many as nine towns and fill its first board.
Sen. Philip Baruth wants to continue gathering ideas before crafting legislation. The panel has received one lawmaker’s proposal and input from the Vermont School Boards Association.