“Those communities are not crazy to think it is part of a philosophical push that has been in the air for some years,” said one lawmaker, harking back to failed legislation on public money for private education.
Many senators adamantly oppose school district consolidation of any kind, and at a caucus they remained uncomfortable with the legislation and the possibility that if the Senate passed the miscellaneous education, the House would tack a version of H.883 onto the legislation.
Unless the bill is revived, neither a proposed two-year moratorium nor study will take effect.
There is no statute on the books either enabling or preventing a public-to-private transition, said Sen. David Zuckerman, P-Chittenden, who made the case for S.91 to the House committee Tuesday morning.
The two-year moratorium would prevent local voters from closing a public school to open an independent school in its place. The bill also would create a study committee to research questions of constitutionality.
Representatives from independent schools and school boards reported some progress in negotiations to the Senate Education Committee, which is considering new requirements for independent schools that accept public funds.
Proponents say the bill is about leveling the playing field for public schools; opponents say it shackles them with mandates that could spell their doom.