One-board petition being readied

VERGENNES — Alderman David Austin on Tuesday told his colleagues that a Vergennes resident has started a petition for a citywide revote on the question of whether the Addison Northwest Supervisory Union should change its governance system.
Vergennes residents voted on March 2 by a 232-142 margin, or 62-38 percent, in favor of a switch to one board to govern all four ANwSU schools. The other four ANwSU towns joined the city by similar margins — the overall percentage tally was 63-37.
All five ANwSU communities must support the governance change for it to take effect. If one town overturns its vote, the Town Meeting Day decision of all five towns would be over-ruled.
At the meeting, Austin said the citizen — whom he later identified as former planning commission member Michael Ferland — believed that before a second vote city residents would “have access to better information.”
Austin, who said he was paraphrasing Ferland, added that Ferland was also concerned about “the tax impact on the citizens of Vergennes.”
Ferland could not be reached for comment before the deadline for this issue of the Independent.
On Wednesday, Vergennes City Clerk Joan Devine said to be effective, a petition challenging the one-board vote must be signed by 5 percent of city voters — 75 people — and be turned into City Hall on or before April 1. 
The ANwSU vote was hailed statewide, including by Commissioner of Education Armando Vilaseca, as a step forward toward school consolidation that could eventually help control spiraling education costs.
The Addison Central Supervisory Union board on March 24 will review a report that is intended to, among other things, spur debate on school governance and consolidation (See story, Page 1A). Some ACSU officials said they want to consider a one-board system for a supervisory union with seven elementary schools, a middle school and a high school.
Andy Kirkaldy may be reached at [email protected].

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