Vermont Senate limits religious school and out-of-state tuitioning, expands dual enrollment eligibility

This is from the March 26, 2022, update from the Vermont Independent Schools Association.

A bill that puts “guardrails” around tuitioning to religious independent schools and expands dual enrollment passed the Senate after a long gestation in the Senate Education Committee and the Senate Appropriations Committee. Presenting the bill on the Senate floor, Education Committee chair Sen. Brian Campion (D-Bennington) said the bill’s main purpose was to put what he termed “guardrails” around permissible uses of public funds in religious schools. The bill will next be referred to the House where it likely will be taken up by the House Education Committee.

Campion explained to the Senate his committee considered three options concerning religious school tuitioning: do nothing, ban tuitioning entirely, or craft something in between. He said the first two options were unacceptable to the committee. “Stopping public funds would displace thousands of students, illegally turn independent schools public, prevent students from attending certain special education schools and likely saddle the State of Vermont with debilitating lawsuits,” he stated.

The bill also removes long-standing restrictions on student eligibility for the dual enrollment program, now opening the program to all Vermont high school juniors and seniors. Additionally, the bill limits out-of-state tuitioning only to independent schools in Vermont’s neighboring states and in Quebec.

Strong opposition to S.219 was voiced by Senator Ruth Hardy (D-Addison). She said she could not support the bill “because it further entangles our public school financing system with private and more egregiously religious schools.” Instead, she said “We should be exploring and cementing a path for eliminating our current system of tuition. There is precedent to do this while still preserving the academies and the other schools.”

“There is no path forward to preserve academies, to preserve this school, to preserve that school,” Campion replied. “It is just not feasible.”

Stanstead College Names Next Head

Following the announcement that school head Michael Wolfe will retire at the end of the 2022-23 school year, the Stanstead College board of directors has selected associate head Joanne Tracy Carruthers to be the next head.

Stanstead College, located very close to the U.S.-Canada border in Stanstead, Quebec, is principally a boarding high school, which also annually enrolls a dozen or so Vermont day students who commute primarily from Coventry and Montgomery.

Carruthers has been with Stanstead for over 25 years, initially in the admissions office and later as admissions director. She was named associate head in 2019 and served as acting head during a Michael Wolfe sabbatical. “Joanne will be the first woman to be head of school of Stanstead College,” remarked board chair Jonathan Cowen, “a milestone that is long overdue.”

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2 thoughts on “Vermont Senate limits religious school and out-of-state tuitioning, expands dual enrollment eligibility

  1. This is all about kowtowing to the public education monopoly special interest groups. If you think they have your children’s best interest at heart, I have a gender-dysphoric, anything-but-white, Barbie-disguised-as-Ken doll for you, that can’t speak properly, even when you pull its string.

    Yes, it’s all a diversion. All they care about is the money.

    Normally, I’d be promoting School Choice about now. But that issue is in Vermont’s Federal and Superior Court and will, hopefully, soon be resolved. But, in the meantime, I’m going to reverse my opinion on recommending true patriots not bother running for school boards.

    That’s right. News Flash. Yes, keep faith that our judicial system does the right thing. But run patriots, run.

    At the very least, taking over school boards will give the progressive left a taste of their own medicine. Eliminate CRT and gender-based instruction of little kids. Pledge allegiance to the flag of the U.S. Don’t fly any other flags. Teach real civics and constitutional law. And, most of all, institute merit-based teaching of reading, writing, arithmetic, and science – and hold students and teachers accountable for successful outcomes or the kids don’t graduate.

    And when the progressives go ballistic, offer them School Choice tuition vouchers so they can choose the school that THEY believe best meets THEIR needs.

  2. Maybe I’m just dense by isn’t this all about the difficulties that arise from spending the “government’s” tax money? Wouldn’t these problems go way If the money never became the “governments” money? If the educational portion of our tax money didn’t go to the governments’ funds but rather directly to the parents’ account for purchasing schooling services (teachers/curriculum) they thought would serve their kids education? No…It couldn’t be that simple.
    OH WAIT, silly me, that can’t happen — that would destroy the the single provider system…it would be union busting. I’ll be shutting down for a while now master Luke…just talk among yourselves.

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