Two area supervisory unions reject school consolidation

BRANDON / FAIR HAVEN  — The Rutland Northeast and Rutland Addison supervisory unions on March 26 both passed resolutions officially rejecting H.833, the school consolidation bill.
The RNeSU resolution reads as follows:
“The RNeSU Full board hereby rejects Bill H.833. We believe that the elimination of local school board governance is not conducive to promoting our democratic ideals, fostering social capital and the effective leadership of our community schools. We encourage the legislature to work with the Vermont Superintendents Association, the Vermont School Boards Association and the Agency of Education to identify specific statutory adjustments that would strengthen the effective coordination and management authorities of supervisory union boards while maintaining local district boards.
“We also call for adequate funding to restore the capacity of the Agency of Education to provide meaningful support and technical assistance to support the effective practices at all levels.
“Furthermore, we pledge to participate with the VSBA, VSA and AOE in promoting best practices to attract, support and retain superintendents and principals.”
RNeSU Superintendent John Castle said the resolution will be sent to the House Education Committee, Vermont Education Secretary Rebecca Holcombe, and Gov. Peter Shumlin, as well as the Senate Education Committee, which will take up the bill next.
On the same day in Fair Haven, the board that includes members representing the Orwell Village School approved a resolution along the same line. Like RNeSU, the Addison-Rutland board called for cooperation among statewide associations of superintendents and school boards, as well as state government, to improve coordination of resources within the existing education framework.
The Addison Rutland resolution reads, in part:
“The Addison Rutland Supervisory Union School Board hereby rejects Bill H.883 … (The board) believes that eliminating local school board governance is not conducive to promoting our democratic ideals and fostering social capital. And … (the board) believes that Bill H.883 will increase costs not limited to legal fees, consolidating personnel and merging salary structures.
The board also “believes that consolidating to Pre K to 12  School districts will ultimately put pressure on small schools to close.”

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