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March 4th, 2015
ADDISON — If Town Meeting Day polling is any indication, voters in Addison were willing to open up their wallets for most items on the school and municipal warnings — except for the Vergennes Union High School’s general operating budget. As in the other five towns that feed VUHS, Addison voters on Tuesday rejected the proposed $10.47 million high school spending plan; in Addison the tally was 140 no, 123 yes.
Residents did, however, approve the level-funded Addison Central School spending plan of $1,543,138; the vote was 166 yes, 98 no.
The House Education bill, H.361, is out. This rangy bill covers a considerable number of educational issues, and carries with it many of the ideas that had been raised through House Speaker Shap Smith’s education workgroup. Specifically, it bears down on both education spending and governance, proposing a spending cap and an incentive/disincentive approach that aims to move us forward collectively and strike a balance between mandate and self-selection.
The research firm 24/7 Wall Street recently conducted a study of trends in middle-income stagnation and income inequality across all 50 states. The study was based on publicly available data from the Census Bureau, Labor Department and other government agencies. Vermont did not come out well, if you are someone for whom reducing inequality is a valued goal.
The Vermont Public Health Association is greatly concerned about gun violence death and disability and its profound and lasting negative effect on families and communities. Thus we support the 2015 Legislature’s efforts to create legislation that will minimize Vermonters’ exposure to ill-intended or accidental gun violence.
A year ago, there was lively discussion in Middlebury about the wisdom of turning over a piece of public real estate to Middlebury College in exchange for a contribution toward two new town buildings. Many in the community voiced concern about trading away a valuable public asset, the site of our present municipal building and gym.
Vermonters are generally decent and non-discriminatory citizens with respect for our fellow human beings and, in the words of George Fox, the founder of Quakerism, “answer to that of God in every one.” We find it fascinating to read an article in the recent quarterly issue of the “Intelligence Report,” a journal put out by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SCPLC), about a legal dispute in the Canadian province of New Brunswick.
In January 1,400 letters and 12,000 petition signatures were hand delivered in Montpelier in support of a bill to be sponsored by, among others, our Sen. Claire Ayer. The bill, S.31, is about to be re-drafted to focus on two of the three provisions originally included.
Town Meeting on Saturday in Starksboro featured a lengthy discussion with key players in the state’s, the county’s and the town’s education deciders.
Joining our debate, in addition to our local school board, were Superintendent David Adams and Rep. Dave Sharpe, chair of the Vermont House Education Committee.