To have a serious discussion about the financial benefits of school consolidation, we all first have to agree that unifying governance, alone, solves very little. What is uniformly recognized is that significant savings come by combining schools — including eliminating building expenses; reducing staff, teachers and administrators; and getting the teacher-pupil ratio higher. Reducing the number of school boards and the number of meetings all of those volunteers attend saves little and serves as the smoke screen to the more serious conversation.
On April 18, 1970, then Gov. Deane Davis — clad in work clothes and a brimmed hat with a dozen Boy Scouts in front of him — posed for a photo in the middle of Interstate 89 outside of Montpelier while picking up trash along the highway. It was the state’s first Green Up Day and the governor (who also pushed through Act 250 under Addison County Sen. Art Gibb’s leadership) closed the interstate for the day (imagine!) so Vermonters could safely clean up the state’s busiest thoroughfare.
That’s taking the issue to heart — and making a statement.
Last week, Governor Douglas allowed a bill to move Vermont’s primary from the second Tuesday of September back to the fourth Tuesday of August to become law without his signature. This year’s primary elections will be held on August 24.