Town manager addresses Vermont Railway case
First of all, I want to recognize the overwhelming community support shown for the actions of the Town since this project became public in early January. Second, Chairman von Stange deserves special praise for his leadership and volunteer time commitment throughout this ordeal. Third, Claudine Safar was outstanding representing Shelburne in Court and we’re proud she’s our Town Attorney.
What has become apparent as a result of this hearing is that Vermont Rail has been evasive with the Town of Shelburne since Day One. Vermont Rail attempted to hide information regarding the role of Barrett Trucking. Vermont Rail refused to provide local and state regulators with final plans and admitted in court that the entire project could change again and again.
In fact, since the start of litigation, new versions of the plans were produced for the first time. Vermont Rail cleared 19 acres of clay plain forest days after purchasing the property under the assumption federal preemption applied to the entire project with no questions asked. Vermont Rail does not determine when and how federal preemption is applied and Shelburne has been willing to challenge this unbridled hubris. The Town of Shelburne not only has the right, it has an obligation to protect the health, safety, and welfare of its citizenry. That commitment is absolute and it will continue.
Shelburne Town Manager
Act 46 vote
There will be a vote on June 7 to determine whether Shelburne, Williston, Hinesburg, Charlotte and St. George will merge to form the new Champlain Valley School District under Act 46. Members of the Act 46 Study Committee and our school boards will be at several local establishments during the next two weeks to meet with people in the community to answer questions about the merger proposal. We will be at Village Wine and Coffee on May 26 and June 2 at 8:00am, Archie’s Grill on May 26 and June 2 at 5:30pm, and at Bruegger’s Bagels on May 31 at 7:30am.
In addition to voting on the merger proposal itself, voters will be asked to elect three Shelburne representatives to the new board. Having served on the SCS board for 9 years and a member of three separate study committees looking at this issue over the years, I hope to serve on the new board that finally puts this new structure into place. If this proposal is approved, we will be replacing seven separate school boards with just one and I urge the people of Shelburne to vote to approve this. While there are certainly financial benefits to our community if this proposal is approved, I feel strongly that the real benefit will be to our students. Operating as a single district will allow students, faculty and staff more flexibility in creating educational opportunities while also allowing for greater operational efficiencies. I will be voting in favor of the proposal on June 7 and hope you will be too.
Russell A. Caffry
Board support for Act 46 consolidation
To the editor:
After 35 meetings from September to May, the Chittenden South Supervisory Union (CSSU) Act 46 Study committee concluded their work and recommended that a vote for consolidation of school governance should go to the towns of CSSU. The result of a positive vote of the CSSU member communities would be that the five-member school districts–Shelburne, Charlotte, Williston, Hinesburg and St. George, would merge into a consolidated district with shared governance across all communities. The Shelburne School Board (SSB) unanimously supports this initiative, and encourages voters to participate in the upcoming vote on June 7th.
The SSD board believes that this merger is a good idea for many reasons. With consolidated governance, the opportunity for cost savings is maximized by sharing fixed costs amongst the different communities. Secondly, with more fluid school boundaries, schools will be able to share students and staff much more easily. This could allow for shared staff for enhanced learning and teaching opportunities across the district, where previously, the non-shared costs were too much for individual districts to bear. Third, with more centralized functions at the current CSSU level, administrators at each school will have more time to focus on being the instructional leaders of their school, thus improving the educational opportunities for everyone. Fourth, much of the consolidation effort has already been transitioned to CSSU in recent years, with 70% of the expenditures across the 5 districts already under CSSU management, including the nationally-recognized CVU High School, special education, transportation and other vital functions. This greatly minimizes any transition headaches. Lastly, Act 46 put significant incentives in place to proceed with an accelerated merger schedule for districts statewide. Shelburne voters would save an estimated $240 per $100,000 in assessed value from cumulative merger incentives.
The important process of ensuring adequate local input into district decision making would continue through the “budget buddy” process, along with three dedicated Shelburne members to a new 12-member CSSD. The PTO would remain another vital tool to ensure local voices are being heard.
As June 7 approaches, the SSD board encourages everyone to get out and vote for the Act 46 ballot initiative. Have questions? Two forums will be held: May 24, 7pm as part of the Shelburne Selectboard meeting, and June 6, 7pm at the SCS Cafeteria.
Dave Connery, Chair
Kathy Stockman, Vice Chair
Save the owls
To Shelburne News, my name is Addison. I am 6 years old. I want to save the spotted owls. We need to save the trees cause that is their home.
Don’t cut down trees please.