Filing deadline nears for ANwSU one-board hopefuls
VERGENNES — Residents of the five Addison Northwest Supervisory Union towns who are interested in serving on the proposed new consolidated board to govern the four ANwSU schools have until Monday, Jan. 25, to take out petitions to put their names on Town Meeting Day ballots. Those petitions are available at town clerks’ offices.
A Town Meeting Day vote will determine whether ANwSU will switch from its current total of eight boards — a number that is projected to drop to five this summer when the Vergennes, Panton and Waltham ID school boards dissolve — to one to operate the 1,400-student union.
Officials say in a fully unified union there would be long-term savings in time and money; ways to more easily share academic programs, transportation and other elements; no per-pupil tax penalties for the smaller ANwSU schools, as has been the case for Addison Central School, and even help keeping ACS and Ferrisburgh Central School open; stabilization for towns’ tax rates; and protection for individual towns from major swings in special education costs.
Current members of all the school boards and administrators back the proposal, which must be approved in each of the five towns to take effect in 2011.
Superintendent Tom O’Brien said four public forums are planned in February to present plan details and allow for public discussion and questions, but the dates and times have not yet been set.
The plan calls for proportional representation on the one board, as is the case on the current Vergennes Union High School and ANwSU boards. The unified union board, if approved, would have four members each from Vergennes and Ferrisburgh, two from Addison, and one each from Waltham and Panton.
The positions will be on the ballots in each town, O’Brien said. As is the case for any elective office, write-in campaigns are also possible if not enough candidates step forward for the dozen positions.
O’Brien said terms would begin immediately if the unified union is approved, and the new governance system would formally take effect next year.