By Stu Lindberg
In the last year I have watched the Act 46 merger votes and re-votes that have been conducted in towns around Vermont, and I have made some observations of this process. Study committees and school boards are strictly guided by the Agency of Education “experts” to present two choices for the voters to pick from. This allows for the illusion that Vermont’s proud tradition of local self governance and direct democracy is still alive.
I participated in the Act 46 vote in my town of Cavendish. From local news reports, and from speaking with my fellow citizens, the choices presented are viewed as negative. One citizen commented that the vote is like being presented “a choice between eating one pile of steaming cr– or another similar pile of steaming cr–.” I did not disagree.
To make the choices more palatable, the voters have been told by superintendents and state “experts” that if you vote for the state’s “preferred” steaming pile, there will be lower educational costs, lower taxes and increased opportunities for students. As an added incentive to vote for the “preferred” pile, the Agency of Education has made it clear that regardless of your vote you will still be dining on their “preferred” steaming pile. This choice is not a choice at all. It is coercion and is tyrannical. Enough hard evidence exists to prove that the bold promises of cost savings, lower taxes and increased opportunities are a pack of lies. Act 46 is an overreach and abuse of state power to increase the state’s power.
It illustrates to me is that direct democracy and local self governance is suffocating in Vermont. Tyranny in the legislature, the governor’s office and the Agency of Education is alive and growing stronger.
What are Vermonters to do? Perhaps all is not lost. I am encouraged that local citizens who were naive about the implications of Act 46 have had their eyes opened wide. Act 46 has been a true bipartisan screwing of the Vermont citizenry. We have elections in our little Vermont republic for a reason. Democrats, Republicans, Progressives and independents that voted for Act 46 can be thrown out of office.
Vermont’s education funding law Act 60/68 passed in 1997 needs to be revisited and repealed. It has exacerbated the increase in taxes by creating a fund that is too often subject to raids by duplicitous politicians. Local control, including education financing, could be returned to the local citizenry, where it rightfully belongs. It is the locals that are paying the bills, and it is the locals that have children and grandchildren in our public schools. The educational system in place now, with control in the hands of distant and out of touch politicians and bureaucrats, is clearly not working. To those Vermonters reading this, you still have choice. You don’t have to let it slip away.
Stu Lindberg writes occasional commentary for True North Reports. He lives in Cavendish, Vermont.
5 thoughts on “Lindberg: Act 60/68 needs to be repealed”
There’s an easy, nonpartisan method for correcting all of these problems; purely perceived, real or in between….. School Choice tuition vouchers allowing parents to home-school or choose the public or independent school that best meets the needs of their children.
The only reason anyone rejects School Choice is because they want to control the vast hordes of public tax dollars on behalf of education special interest groups – whoever they are – education employees and their families, social service providers, special education service providers, sub-contractors of all kinds…whatever… those who stalk their prey at the ‘great education watering hole’ in order to avoid responsibility for its success.
There is one group that has never qualified as a ‘special interest’ and its time they were respected. They are Vermont’s parents and their children. School Choice will, in one fell swoop, remedy all that is wrong with the current State Education Monopoly. It will satisfy the requirements of the Brigham vs. State of Vermont case (Acts 60, 68 & 130), save money, lower property taxes, restore the real estate market and local economies, improve academic performance and, most importantly, get politics out of education.
And don’t let the ‘red herring argument’ of transportation sway your thoughts. Under School Choice tuitioning, School districts can still provide as much or as little transportation to both public and independent schools as they choose to provide.
What’s not to like about that?…unless, of course, you’re part of the special interests.
You are spot on! Thank you so much Jay!! Why is this so hard for people to see?
The educational bureaucrats, unions, VT NEA has a strangle hold on the taxpayers , the real
strangle hold is on home owners !!
Look at Burlington’s $85M dollar school budget , for what … Oh yeah, it the over paid salaries
and benefit plans all increased year after year .
Who in the public sector gets a raise every year in the tune of 7% each year ?? It would be different if the performance numbers were up and the school enrollment was increasing !!.
But it’s just the opposite ( Negative Numbers ) …………..Shameful and they have the audacity
to protest and ask for more. They ( NEA ) are always stating we only want a fair deal , my God
be fair to the property owners .
I would love to see a line item budget for Burlington’s $85M , I have asked but apparently they
don’ t have one or they cannot break it down or just cannot justify ………. Sad .
I have the greatest respect for Mr Lindberg as I’ve seen his many writings in various media sources. He should be in the Gov straightening things out.
The educational bureaucrats, unions, VT NEA has a strangle hold on the taxpayers in VT and are driving many to leave the state. There’s Legislative agenda this year about raising property school taxes by $0.09 per thousand with the school enrollments decreasing. Just how friendly is the VT government? NONE! Most of them are imported flatlanders.
The system is ruining the state, like CA. There’s concerns about people about splitting that state going separate ways, Conservative & Liberal areas. VT needs to do the same. Libs will beg Conservatives for economic help. The dividing line can be Route 4 across VT.
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