Addison unification revote set for May 17

ADDISON — Addison residents will join their Vergennes counterparts on May 17 in deciding the fate of Addison Northwest Supervisory Union unification.
Petitions in both those communities triggered revotes of Town Meeting Day tallies in favor of a plan in which one 12-member board would own and operate the four ANwSU schools.
Voters in Ferrisburgh, Panton and Waltham joined Addison and Vergennes in backing the plan, but the results were not petitioned in those towns.
Because residents in all five communities must back the one-board proposal, ANwSU unification will hinge on the results on May 17.
The overall vote in the five towns in March was 764-466, or roughly 62-38 percent. In four of the five towns at least 60 percent of voters favored the measure.
The exception was Addison, where a similar March 2010 vote in favor of unification was petitioned and eventually overturned in May. The Addison tally on Town Meeting Day 2011 was 177-150 in favor, or 54-46 percent.
On March 1, Vergennes residents supported unification, 191-124, or almost 61-39 percent.
After a 2010 petition, in May Addison reversed its 197-138 Town Meeting Day vote in favor of unification. The second vote went 191-148 tally against the one-board plan, and derailed the proposal.
Vergennes residents also in 2010 petitioned their original 232-142 vote backing unification. A majority said no to the governance switch, 139-127, in the second vote.
But in a revote, the opposing tally to the original decision must garner at least two-thirds of its total to overrule the first vote. The second Vergennes vote last year did not meet that requirement, and did not overturn the first vote.
This year in Addison, both 119 no votes and a majority would be needed to overturn the town’s March vote in favor of ANwSU unification.
After this March’s 191 yes votes in Vergennes, both 128 no votes and a majority no vote will be needed to defeat unification on May 17.
ANwSU Superintendent Tom O’Brien said members of the ANwSU board’s unified union subcommittee would attend informational meetings in both communities to provide data about the one-board proposal.
The Addison Central board last week also chose May 12 as the date of its required informational meeting in advance of the May 17 vote.
Vergennes aldermen will at their upcoming Tuesday meeting choose an informational meeting date. O’Brien recommended May 10, when aldermen are already set to hold a regular meeting.
Mayor Michael Daniels said on Wednesday he would recommend to the council that they choose that date, even if it meant “that we’d have to run that (council meeting) with a light schedule.”
Daniels said choosing a council meeting as the hearing date would allow the hearing to be televised, as almost all council meetings are on community access television on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays following the meetings.
Alderman Lowell Bertrand suggested to aldermen last month doubling up the council meeting with the informational meeting to allow the pros and cons of unification to be broadcast, and Daniels this week agreed with the concept.
“That is an excellent idea,” he said.
Andy Kirkaldy may be reached at [email protected].

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