Three Act 46 Unification Proposals To Be Considered On Election Day

Oct 25, 2016

Voters in three proposed Vermont school districts will cast their unification votes on Nov. 8. Voters in Grand Isle Supervisory Union, Barre City and Town and Addison Northeast Supervisory Union will all cast ballots on forming new school districts to comply with Act 46.

On Grand Isle, voters in the towns of Grand Isle, Isle La Motte, North Hero and South Hero will decide whether or not to form a unified pre-K through sixth grade district. The Grand Isle town of Alburgh, which operates a pre-kindergarten through eighth grade school, is not voting to join the new district. However, Alburgh School Board Chairman Mike Savage said that if the new district is approved, Alburgh could decide to join at a later date.

Savage said there was "a lot of disagreement" about whether the unified district should educate students through grade six or grade eight. Currently Grand Isle, South Hero and Alburgh town school districts teach students through eighth grade at their local schools, and high school students have school choice. Isle La Motte and North Hero local schools go through grade six, and students are tuitioned out to schools of their choice starting in seventh grade.

Savage also said the Alburgh School Board believes there will likely be more changes to Act 46. He commented, "We didn't want to be all in on something that's going to change again."

The proposal deems participation in the unified union "necessary" for Grand Isle, Isle La Motte and North Hero and "advisable" for South Hero and Alburgh. That means Grand Isle, Isle La Motte and North Hero must all vote in favor of the unification for the district to be established. Participation by South Hero and Alburgh are not necessary for the creation of the unified district.

Barre City and Barre Town voters will cast ballots Nov. 8 for or against forming the Barre Unified Union School District. The new district would operate Barre schools covering pre-kindergarten through grade 12. The new district would assume all debts and property of the Barre City and Barre Town school districts. The new district would be governed by a board of school directors with membership proportional to the population of Barre City and Barre Town.

Voters in Bristol, Lincoln, Monkton, New Haven and Starksboro are also holding an Act 46 unification vote on Election Day. If approved, all the schools within the Addison Northeast Supervisory Union would operate as one school district, including elementary schools in all five towns and Mt. Abraham Union Middle/High School.