The Vermont House of Representatives on Wednesday voted down a proposed amendment that would have allowed a one-year extension for forced school district mergers under Act 46.
Given the uncertainty around a merger of local school districts, articles for annual town meetings are being warned with an eye toward what could play out in the courts.
A group of lawmakers led by Rep. Heidi Scheuermann, R-Stowe, presented two bills this afternoon that would act as a moratorium on enforcement of Act 46 regarding forced school mergers.
On a recent episode of Vote for Vermont, host Pat McDonald had two education experts talk about Act 46 and the impact that district consolidation and potential school closures are going to have on small communities.
Now that the dust has settled on school merger proposals from the State Board of Education, some of the most frustrated districts are joining a legal battle to defeat Act 46.
Four communities in the lower Northeast Kingdom are trying to adjust to a big reversal by Vermont’s education bureaucracy about recommended mergers under Act 46, the 2015 school governance law.
It didn’t matter if the local school board members had four minutes or four hours — the State Board of Education had made up its mind before the meeting.
Three years after passage by state lawmakers, Act 46 is entering the final chapter of forced school district consolidation, and towns miffed by the state’s power grab are ready to sue to regain control.
The state is making final decisions on school mergers this week in a move that will bring Act 46 to its messy conclusion — and likely spark new lawsuits.
At least 21 school districts are considering going to court if the Agency of Education forces mergers on them, and they’ve got a group of lawyers ready to go.
The candidate who made national headlines for winning six primary election contests in August is waging an even bigger battle in Vermont’s highest court: the battle over Act 46.