Friday's report is just the latest development in this school district consolidation process, which kicked off when then-Gov. Peter Shumlin signed Act 46 in June 2015. The law was supposed to “encourage and support local decisions and actions” around school district mergers.
Back at that time, independent school boards — which generally came from single towns — oversaw their local schools. Under the new law, the preferred model was a single board, made up of representatives from a number of nearby towns, that governed all of the schools in the newly consolidated district.
The Vermont State Board of Education has released a schedule for its three regional meetings to collect local testimony on the statewide Act 46 merger plan that was recently released by the Agency of Education.
VPR's "Morning Edition" host Mitch Wertlieb spoke with VPR reporter Howard Weiss-Tisman ahead of the plan's release.
On Friday, the Vermont Agency of Education will release a proposed statewide merger plan.
School boards that have not yet merged under Act 46 — and are instead seeking approval for their "alternative governance structure" plans — will be watching closely to see if their proposals were accepted.
Black River High School students, from Ludlow and Mount Holly, have been studying together at Black River since middle school. But unless a vote held in November is reversed, their school could be closing before some of these students graduate.
In some Vermont school districts, the issues of assets and debt are complicating their Act 46 merger plans. In Putney, voters will weigh in on what to do with the Putney Central School Forest about a week before the district's Act 46 vote.
At the end of the last Legislative session lawmakers extended the deadlines for Act 46, the state's school district consolidation law. As the new Nov. 30 deadline approaches, districts are now finishing up their work and preparing for a new round of votes on the merger plans.
On Tuesday, the towns of Cabot, Danville, Marshfield and Plainfield will vote on merging into one school district under Act 46. If all four towns vote "yes," it will be the beginning of the end for Cabot High School.