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Opinion: Middlebury stands to gain very little through Act 46

I am writing to encourage everyone affected by the potential Addison Central Supervisory Union accelerated merger under Act 46 to read the charter committee report and make an informed vote on Town Meeting Day.
Essentially, by approving the accelerated merger Middlebury voters will receive minuscule tax breaks in exchange for increased governance (seven of 13 board members).
ACSU’s per pupil spending rate will become a blend of the member schools’ rates with Mary Hogan, currently substantially lower than the others. ACSU voters outside of Middlebury approving the merger will make the opposite trade. They will receive measurable tax breaks for the next several years in exchange for less governance via one board member per town on the merged ACSU board.
A single board is certainly more efficient than the current system in regard to the number of boards and budgets. Voters will need to decide whether they believe that merged board whose members are yet to be determined will make full benefit of the expanded governance. This could range from sharing of staffing resources to consolidating and/or closing schools.
Changes to Act 46 are already being voted on in Montpelier, however. What will the final act look like and will future changes negatively impact those that undertake the accelerated merger? With no tax incentive and plenty of uncertainty, I do not see much of a need to rush into an accelerated merger.
Please read the charter committee report on the ACSU website, contact the charter committee as I have if necessary, and cast your informed vote on Town Meeting Day.
Michael Corbett, Middlebury

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