Bristol-area candidates in demand for unified school board

BRISTOL — When residents in the five Addison Northeast Supervisory Union towns cast votes this Nov. 8 on a proposal to unify budgets and governance of all six of their schools, they will also vote on members of the board that will direct that unified school district.
So the ANeSU’s Act 46 Study Committee is looking for residents of Bristol, Starksboro, Monkton, Lincoln and New Haven to run for the 13 seats on the unified school board.
“Vermont law requires the board of this new district to be elected at the same time that we vote on whether to form the new district … so that if the district is formed then it can begin to operate,” explained committee Chair Jennifer Stanley.
If voters say yes to district unification, the initial Addison Northeast Supervisory District board would have a weighty task ahead of them.
“Being on this board is going to be a great opportunity to address some of the concerns that we’ve heard and to figure out how our unified schools are going to work,” said Stanley. “That board will be responsible for defining policies, starting negotiations with the teacher’s union to establish contracts, presenting a fiscal 2019 budget.
“There’ll be a lot of work to do to basically set up how that new unified district will operate. It is a really important role.”
The new board would likely begin its work in January, said Stanley. And both the new Addison Northeast Supervisory District board and the current boards would continue to operate until the new district becomes operational on July 1, 2018. The current boards would likely continue a few months thereafter, Stanley said, to “tie things up” on behalf of the current districts.
As laid out in the proposed articles of agreement, the new board would be made up of 13 members, allocated proportionately among the five towns:
•  Bristol, five directors.
•  Lincoln, Monkton, New Haven, and Starksboro, two directors each.
The five Bristol school directors would have terms ranging from one to three years. The Lincoln, Monkton and Starksboro directors would have terms of one or three years. The New Haven directors would have terms of one or two years.
The Act 46 study committee is encouraging all interested parties to consider running, said Stanley.
“Folks who are serving on the school boards now are welcome to run and also people who are not on a school board or who have never been on a school board would be a great addition,” she said.
Stanley clarified that it is permissible to serve on both a current school board and on the new ANESD board “as long as you’re willing to do that work and show up at those meetings.”
Candidates for the proposed ANESD board must file a petition with their respective town clerks on or before 5 p.m., Monday, Oct. 3.
Petitions are available from the town offices. For more information, contact Karen Wheeler at the ANeSU office at 802-453-6943.
Reporter Gaen Murphree is reached at [email protected].

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