Why Act 46 didn’t work for Washington Central Supervisory Union, and might not work elsewhere

Washington Central Supervisory Union voted to disband its Act 46 merger study committee in March, leaving school board members on their own to consider alternative governance models and seek merger partners far across Vermont.

The supervisory union, which consists of U-32 Middle and High School plus five elementary schools — Berlin, Calais, Doty, East Montpelier and Rumney — finds itself in the same boat as hundreds of school districts across the state. About 100 districts have not merged and have no scheduled vote. Of that number, around 40 are weighing an alternative governance structure.

This video documentary offers an in-depth look at why Act 46, Vermont’s education governance law of 2015, wasn’t working for WCSU, and might not work for many other districts across the state.

Watch here:

2 thoughts on “Why Act 46 didn’t work for Washington Central Supervisory Union, and might not work elsewhere

  1. As a WNESU school board member, I thought this brought much clarity to the ACT 46 dilemma.

  2. The Legislators in Montpelier certainly wanted to stick their collective fingers and noses in every town’s business so they could say they were doing everything they could to lower taxes and increased opportunities for students. Look, if the towns weren’t working together already, and many have been sharing personnel and bidding on large orders, forcing mergers means making changes that don’t necessarily work for each town. The Essex-Westford merger already has me paying for busing for Westford high school students, something which Westford never wanted to tax themselves to do. Essex Junction will be busing some K-8 for the first time, because Westford and Essex Town elementary students get bused, all in the name of equity. It’s a win for Westford and Essex Town because I now get to pay for their busing costs even though I don’t live in their towns. This is the problem of Act 46. Nothing is ever taken away in the name of equity, but rather, added. Adding services adds to the bottom line. Simple arithmetic. By the way, with merged schools, personnel can be moved randomly between schools. I predict that could be a way to force personnel out of employment, and I’m not talking just about poorer performing employees. It could be used to get more experienced (meaning higher paid) teachers to retire sooner. Move someone enough times, and they’ll go looking for other employment. Oh, this applies to principals, as well. Something I predicted, has already happened. The bus company that got the contract for added bus lines, can’t come up with enough drivers and we’re about six weeks away from the start of the school year.

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