Act 46 objectives, incentives & deadlines

<p align="left"> Act 46 requires that communities form unified pre-K&ndash;12 school districts that serve at least 900 students by July 1, 2019. The law is designed to address rising costs in education &mdash; the number of Vermont schools has remained steady but the number of students served in those schools has dropped over the past several decades &mdash; and to provide greater equity in educational opportunities. Before the law went into effect, Vermont&rsquo;s 303 public schools were governed independently in close to 280 school districts.</p><p align="left"> Drops and fluctuations in student numbers have also forced schools to cut staff or reconfigure teaching assignments from year to year or move some assignments to part-timers. Lawmakers figured that larger districts would be able to negotiate a single contract across multiple schools in ways that could especially improve offerings in such areas as P.E., art, music and foreign language.</p><p align="left"> Addison Northeast Supervisory Union won&rsquo;t vote on a unification plan until November at the earliest, so it is too late to get the financial incentives of an &ldquo;Accelerated Merger,&rdquo; which needs to be approved by June 30. But ANeSU could pursue a &ldquo;Conventional Merger,&rdquo; which must be approved by July 1, 2017. Those unified districts in operation before July 1, 2019, will see a reduction of homestead property tax rates, beginning with an 8-cent reduction the first year.</p><p align="left"> The law sets a Nov. 30, 2017, deadline for all districts to have a plan approved by the Board of Education and by voters. Those that fail to do so will have a plan imposed by the Secretary of Education June 2018, with the Board of Education issuing a final plan.</p><p align="right"> <em>&mdash; Gaen Murphree</em></p>

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Addison County Independent

58 Maple Street
Middlebury, VT 05753

Phone: 802.388.4944
Fax: 802.388.3100