Addison voters will reconsider one board

ADDISON — Addison residents will join Vergennes voters in reconsidering the Town Meeting Day decision to approve changing governance of the Addison Northwest Supervisory Union to a one-board system.
Addison residents voted, 197-138, or 59-41 percent, on March 2, in favor of one-board governance, which would replace the current eight-board system. Three of the current boards — the Vergennes, Panton and Waltham ID boards — are set to dissolve in July regardless.
A petition with at least 69 signatures was handed to the Addison Central School board on Thursday after the signatures were validated at the town clerk’s office, according to ANwSU official Sally Bushey.
Bushey said ACS board chairwoman Kathy Clark was working late last week to arrange a special meeting some time this week, at which a second vote could be scheduled on whether to consolidate ANwSU governance under one board.
The Vergennes ID board is set to meet on April 19 to schedule a revote date in Vergennes. Boards in both Addison and Vergennes must hold votes within 60 days of receiving the revote position, meaning May 28 is the latest possible weekday vote date.
If the earlier approval is reversed in either Addison or Vergennes, the one-board measure will fail — all five ANwSU towns must approve any change in the union’s governing system.
The vote in Vergennes was 232-142, or 62-38 percent.
The other three ANwSU towns joined Addison and Vergennes by even wider margins — the overall percentage tally was 63-37, and the count ran 908-539 in favor of a governance change that is scheduled to take effect next summer.
Overturning the March 2 decision in a revote will require more than a simple majority. According to state statute, the vote to reverse the original decision must also “exceed two-thirds of the number of votes cast for the prevailing side.”
In Addison, that provision means at least 132 residents must vote next time against the change to alter the outcome.
Before the March election, school officials said that the one-board system would help cut taxes in the town. Addison is now paying a penalty to the state because of high per-pupil costs at ACS that are largely due to the school’s declining enrollment.
That penalty would be erased under a one-board system because Addison’s elementary school students would be counted as part of the larger union population, ANwSU and ACS officials said.
Reporter Andy Kirkaldy may be reached at [email protected].

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