Candidates line up for merged RNeSu board
BRANDON — Officials in the Rutland Northeast Supervisory Union were already looking beyond approval by the state Agency of Education of the Brandon-area district’s proposal for unified school governance.
Nevertheless, the AOE approval of the consolidation plan at a hearing last Tuesday was welcome news.
“This plan will allow the towns to bring in what works best for each of us, add opportunities, such as elementary school choice, and share a wider tax base while accessing the tax incentives and keeping small schools grants,” RNeSU Superintendent Jeanne Collins told VTDigger.org.
Residents of Brandon, Goshen, Leicester, Whiting, Sudbury and Pittsford on Jan. 19 will vote on whether to pursue that consolidation. If approved the measure, the Otter Valley Unified Union School District would be created serving pre-K through 12th grade, where each town would keep its own elementary school.
Elsewhere in RNeSU, if Mendon and Chittenden voters approve their measure, they would create the Barstow Unified Union School District, covering pre-K through 12th grade. The new district would operate the Barstow pre-K through 8th grade with tuition choice for students in grades 9-12.
If the measures are approved on Jan. 19, a new RNeSU “Super Board” will be voted in, as well.
The deadline to submit petitions to run for the proposed OVUU Board was last Monday, and every town has at least one candidate.
The new OVUU Board will be a 13-member body broken down as follows:
• One member each from Goshen, Leicester, Whiting and Sudbury.
• Two members from Pittsford.
• Three members from Brandon.
• Four at-large members from any of the six towns.
The following people will stand for election on Jan. 19 to boards under the new consolidated district, should it is approved:
Current Neshobe School Board Chair Lisa Kenyon and Neshobe Board member Mike Lufkin are both running for a three-year Brandon seat on the OVUU Board.
Current Neshobe School Board member Debbie Boyce is running for the two-year Brandon seat, and current Rutland Northeast Executive Committee Chair Dick White is running for the one-year Brandon seat.
Tierney O’Meara is running for one of the four at-large seats.
Current OV Board and RNeSU Negotiations Committee member Angela Oullette is running for the one-year Leicester seat.
Greg Bernhardt is running for the one of the four at-large OVUU Board seats.
Current OV Finance Committee member, RNeSU Board member and Negotiations Committee member Ellen Kurrelmeyer is running for the two-year Whiting seat on the OVUU Board. So is RNeSU Executive Committee Chair and Whiting School Board Chair Becky Bertrand.
Sudbury and RNeSU Board member Laurie Bertrand is running for the three-year Sudbury seat on the OVUU Board. Linda Kokinis is running for one of the four at-large positions.
Mendon School Board Chair Michelle Erickson is running for one of the four at-large seats.
Mendon School Board member and RNeSU Executive Committee member Erica McLaughlin is running for the three-year Mendon seat on the OVUU Board.
Chittenden School Board and RNeSU Board member Debra Singiser is running for the three-year Chittenden seat.
Current Lothrop School Board Chair Bonnie Bourne is running for the two-year Pittsford seat on the OVUU Board, and current Lothrop Board and RNeSU Executive Committee member Sue Markowski is running for the three-year Pittsford seat.
Otter Valley School Board Chair and RNeSU Negotiations Committee Chair Jim Rademacher is running for one of the four at-large OVUU seats, as is Michelle LaDuke Rawls.
The goal of the separating consolidation and new board election from the Town Meeting Day votes is to simplify a complex process. If approved, then the new OVUU budget would be the only question on the Town Meeting ballot, with the new board already elected.
Editor’s note: VTDigger.org contributed to this story.