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Rep. Sharpe pushes change in education through H.361

Posted on March 9, 2015 |
By Zach Despart



Sharpe at town mtg.jpg

ADDISON COUNTY — Rep. David Sharpe doesn’t give off the aura of a salesman. His elbow-patched blazers may echo Willy Loman, but the soft-spoken, veteran legislator isn’t in the business of sweet-talking his way to a few bucks.

But however unnatural it may come to him, selling was exactly what Sharpe set out to do at town meetings in his district this week. It’s not goods the Bristol Democrat is hawking, but an education bill that would drastically change the organization of Vermont’s schools and alter how they are governed.

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County voters reject five school budgets

Posted on March 5, 2015 |
By Zach Despart and Evan Johnson



ADDISON COUNTY — Voters in the northern half of Addison County rejected five school budgets in two supervisory unions on Tuesday evening, a sign that voters remain frustrated with the rising costs of education taxes.

Residents rejected spending plans for Vergennes Union High School and Ferrisburgh Central School in the Addison Northwest Supervisory Union, and three schools in the Addison Northeast Supervisory Union: Mount Abraham Union High School, Monkton Central School and Bristol Elementary School.

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On Point in Education: Incentivizing our education system

Posted on March 4, 2015 |
By Peter Burrows



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.

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Opinion: Local control key in education spending

Posted on March 4, 2015 |
By Matthew Witten



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.

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Editorial: Voters' message on school budgets — Keep moving forward

Posted on March 4, 2015 |
By Angelo S. Lynn



School budgets around the state, for the most part, fared better this year than last when 34 budgets were defeated in town meeting balloting. Why the difference? Largely because the average school budget increase was held to just under 3 percent, compared to much higher increases in 2014.

But there is also the perception that the Legislature is responding to the changing landscape caused by the steep decline in the number of students in Vermont (it’s down 21,000 in the past two decades), the low teacher-pupil ratios and the consequent high per-pupil cost.

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Education bill proposes single districts

Posted on February 19, 2015 |
By John Flowers



BRISTOL — The House Education Committee is drafting a new bill that would eliminate the state’s more than 60 supervisory unions and replace them with larger school districts that advocates believe could do a better job sharing resources while carrying fewer employees.

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Editorial: Education bill sets the stage for Town Meeting discussion

Posted on February 19, 2015 |
By Angelo S. Lynn



Consider how it might work if a legislative proposal to create a single school board per school district were approved this session. The measure, for example, would phase out the seven elementary school boards in the Addison Central Supervisory Union, the UD-3 board (representing the Middlebury Union Middle School and the Middlebury Union High School), and the supervisory union board. In their place, one district board would represent that seven-town constituency with one combined budget.

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Lawmakers weigh costs of school consolidation

Posted on February 12, 2015 |
By Evan Johnson



MIDDLEBURY — The Vermont House Education Committee is “up to our eyeballs in education policy,” committee chairman Rep. David Sharpe told a group of around 40 at the Legislative Breakfast at the Middlebury American Legion hall on Monday. The Bristol Democrat said that changes to the way Vermont schools are governed and financed is high on the legislative agenda.

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On Point In Education: Reauthorization of education law is opportunity for change

Posted on February 11, 2015 |
By Peter Burrows



The federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), which spawned the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act, is the central linchpin of the federal education agenda. Signed into law in 1965 by Lyndon Johnson, it has set forth federal agendas on education and has been the primary pathway for federal funding to state and local agencies.

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Opinion: School finance reform needed

Posted on January 28, 2015 |
By George Jaeger



Max Kraus’ excellent letter in the Jan. 15 Addison Independent goes to the heart of the matter. It’s not just that school taxes are high and rising — even as student populations decline — but that the system is hugely inefficient and produces at best average results.

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