The State Board of Education interpretation of Act 46 and the underlying school choice statuses does not allow for all districts in Vermont to comply with Act 46 and retain choice. I believe that the interpretation stifles the ability of local communities to be innovative and creative in complying with Act 46.
It was, and is, the intention of our caucus to protect school choice where it exists, and has existed, in most cases for over a century and a half. I believe this is clear in the language of the law as it is written, but if there is confusion or potential for confusion on behalf of the SBE or other bodies, perhaps a clarifying legislative fix is appropriate and necessary when the legislature returns in January.
During the last election cycle Vermonters made it heard loud and clear that they wanted some type of tax relief. Vermonters continually felt the hard hits of school budgets and school spending. I hope the legislators, when they return to Montpelier in January, will make every effort to give clarity to this issue and push to have communities with school choice, and receive the option to merge and retain what they have.
There is a grandfather provision in Act 46 that allows for students in 9-12 to keep their choice. If choice can work in these communities for an additional four years, it should be acceptable and preferable to extend this choice without deadline. This fix should be of interest and priority to all political parties in the best interest of Vermont’s kids.
Ed Stone, Charlotte
Shelburne Community School will be having a forum to get out information about Act 46 and the required actions for the school board as part of this bill on Nov. 10. It will be held in conjunction with their initial budget forum. Act 46 will be first on the agenda at 7pm, with the budget forum following at approximately 7:30.
Find more information about the Act 46 Study Committee’s work by visiting http://act46.cssu.org.