Act 46, the first comprehensive education governance reform since the 1890s, was signed into law in 2015. It was designed to encourage and support community-based decisions to unify schools and promote equality in education. Since July 1, 2015, voters in 105 towns have approved the unification of 113 school districts.
These successes notwithstanding, some communities have encountered challenges as they work to unify their schools. Legitimate concerns of geography, local culture and current governance structure pose logistical issues.
The first thing I did when I went to the Statehouse was to cosponsor H.7 and H.15, which would give our district more time and more flexibility for what works best for our towns. I also worked with a group of legislators to put specific revisions into the bill that will enhance compliance with Act 46 for many communities around the state, including some of the towns that we represent. Read the revisions here.
This year, the House advanced a package of reforms to increase flexibility for school district mergers. Now, school districts that have not merged can access several new governance structures. For communities that have struggled to reach consensus, they will have more time and flexibility as local study committees develop alternative governance structures to present to the Secretary of Education. By giving schools in all parts of our state the opportunity to unify, we better position our education system to help all students achieve academic success.
Read more on Education Action in the legislature https://vtdigger.org/2017/05/30/legislative-wrap-2017-education/