To Skirt Act 46, Stowe Considers Changing Public Schools To Independent Academies

Mar 15, 2016

Some community members in Stowe are leading an effort to revisit the idea of converting the town's public schools into independent academies. 

They're calling themselves the Stowe Local Schools Initiative and they've gotten the Stowe School Board to agree to update a 1999 study on the issue.

The move is a reaction to Vermont Act 46, which mandates school districts across the state consolidate into larger entities. As an alternative to merging Stowe's school district with surrounding towns, the Stowe Local Schools Initiative is promoting what it calls the "Vermont Town Academy model."

St. Johnsbury Academy, Lyndon Institute and Burr and Burton Academy are examples of long-standing town academies, which operate as independent schools. In 2013, the North Bennington Graded School transitioned from a public school to an independent school called the Village School of North Bennington.  

On Tuesday evening, the Stowe Local Schools Initiative is sponsoring a presentation and question-and-answer session with Mill Moore, executive director of the Vermont Independent Schools Association.

"Mr. Moore will discuss the history of independent schools in Vermont, the different types of independent schools, laws governing independent schools, and the process and considerations a community undertakes when exploring the option of an independent school," a meeting announcement states. "This is a wonderful opportunity to get an understanding of how independent schools are formed and operate, and the differences between public schools and independent schools, as well as ask your questions."

The presentation begins at 5:30 p.m. in the meeting room of the Stowe Free Library.