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January 8th, 2015
ADDISON COUNTY — The Dec. 19 announcement by Vermont Gas Systems of a second multi-million-dollar price hike for Phase I of its Addison Rutland Natural Gas Project pipeline disappointed regulators and the governor and raised key questions about the company’s ability to both manage the project and rein in costs.
As we watch the political and emotional wheels turn before the start of our next legislative session, a familiar reality is emerging on the key educational issues we are facing. Proponents and opponents are lining up on both sides, decrying the data that are surfacing. Similar to the trajectory of the H.883 governance conversation last year, there are challenges ahead as we look to engage in bipartisan dialogue about Vermont’s next steps in education on a solid foundation of common ground.
Bristol’s Rep. Dave Sharpe might have just assumed the mantle of dragon slayer, if things go well with his new post as chair of the House Education Committee, or less favorable titles if things don’t go well. And, frankly, the odds are a toss-up.
The stated task the Education Committee faces is nothing short of Herculean: to restructure the financial system, bring down costs and reduce the property tax burden, while also improving student outcomes.
VERGENNES — Voters in the Addison Northwest Supervisory Union got their first look at what next year’s budget for Vergennes Union High School may look like when district administrators presented a draft to the school board Monday evening.
BRISTOL — Addison County will have an important seat at the table when the Vermont Legislature gets to work this month on education finance reform, tabbed by many lawmakers as the top priority for the 2015 session.
Vermont House Speaker Shap Smith has picked Rep. Dave Sharpe, D-Bristol, to chair the House Education Committee, a panel that will clearly play a big role in devising and advancing any bills aimed at changing the manner in which the state’s public schools are financed.
MIDDLEBURY — Officials planning replacement of Middlebury’s two downtown railroad overpasses said construction is being delayed until next year after new information suggested the project could cost more than twice as much as originally forecast, and could take at least three construction seasons to complete instead of two.
MIDDLEBURY — Organizers of the first annual Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival (MNFF) on Tuesday confirmed they have secured a lead sponsor for the four-day event and they’ve launched a new website that will assist those wanting to enter and/or attend the event, expected to draw upwards of 1,000 people to Addison County’s shire town on Aug. 27-30.