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New unified school districts become official as deadline passes

MIDDLEBURY — Town Meeting Day votes that authorized public school governance unification in both the Addison Central and Addison Northwest supervisory unions are now official, as the statutory deadline by which to challenge those referenda has now passed.
Officials in both supervisory unions confirmed that no one has filed a citizens’ petition calling for reconsideration of the March 1 unification votes. That means the Addison Central School District (ACSD) and the Addison Northwest School District (ANWSD) are now both official entities, as are each of their governing boards that were elected on Town Meeting Day.
The ACSD includes all public schools in Bridport, Cornwall, Middlebury, Ripton, Salisbury, Shoreham and Weybridge.
The ANWSD includes all public schools in Addison, Ferrisburgh, Panton, Vergennes and Waltham.
Each new school district is represented by a single board and will be financed by a single budget. This replaces a longstanding system of multiple school boards and separate school budgets within each supervisory union.
Addison Central officials are pleased to see the change become official.
“The entire ACSU community holds incredible hope for what we can accomplish together as Addison Central School District, a single educational district focused on the needs of each and every student in our community,” said ACSU Superintendent Peter Burrows. “Our boards, staff and community members worked tirelessly to provide the foundation for this historic governance change. I think the election results reflect trust that has been forged over many years across our towns. We are deeply committed to continue to work together, now as one greater community, to provide the best opportunities for our students.”
Middlebury’s Ruth Hardy and Cornwall’s Peter Conlon were among the ACSU leaders who promoted and explained the unification plan, which proponents believe will lead to more efficient and cost-effective delivery of public education.
“The team of school board members who have worked toward unification over many years is grateful to the voters of our towns for trusting that moving forward together will be better for our students and schools,” Hardy said. “We’re anxious to advance to the next phase of school leadership, and look forward to continuing to work with our communities to create the best school system possible.”
“With the successful vote behind us, now the hard — but exciting — work begins to create a top-quality unified school system that is the envy of schools across the state,” Conlon said. “I am really looking forward to it.”
The new ACSD and ANWSD boards are now waiting for Vermont Education Secretary Rebecca Holcombe to announce dates for their first meetings.
Reporter John Flowers is at [email protected].

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