TNR Video Series: ‘Travels With Charlie – Vermont Politics in Real Life’ (Episode 4)

In the fourth episode of “Travels With Charlie – Vermont Politics in Real Life,” host Charlie Papillo talks Act 46 with Republican state Sen. Corey Parent and David Kelley, an attorney representing school districts jointly appealing the State Board of Education’s merger decisions.

As the men jump on a local school bus and end up at a Franklin community kids playground, they discuss some of the political, legal and financial problems with Vermont’s controversial school district consolidation law.

12 thoughts on “TNR Video Series: ‘Travels With Charlie – Vermont Politics in Real Life’ (Episode 4)

  1. So this is another glaring, huge example of how the conversation if framed, framed against the Vermont Citizen and certainly against the Vermont student and town.

    The entire conversation is controlled, “cost per student” is the topic. Notice how they NEVER, NEVER, NEVER talk about savings to the TAX PAYER. Oh they will wax poetic about the “savings” they are going to see, but it is NEVER about the tax payer.

    There is also NEVER,NEVER, NEVER, a discussion about a demonstrable improvement in the quality of education either. These are not coincidences. Listen to what this very intelligent woman has to say about our education system and the direction.

    For God’s sake if we did a survey with our students, my guess is 80% of the students aren’t even taught what type of government we have in this lovely country. They can’t get the most basic of things correctly…….as Charlotte correctly states, “Things have changed”……

  2. This doesn’t even touch the topics we are teaching and not teaching our children, things that should alarm any involved parent. Our school system needs MAJOR rework.

    • Don’t get hung up trying to repair the Uncle Remus Tar Baby. Vermont’s education system is too complicated and neither its administrators or the state legislaure can cope with it. But you do have the option to use alternative educaton services. See below.

      Please don’t throw me in that briar patch!

  3. This attorney is sharp….notice there is no savings to the tax payer. NONE

    Act46 is a nightmare.

    It is not the shrinking enrollment that is driving up,costs, those costs are pretty much fixed, if the teacher has 12 kids or 6 kids the cost to the tax payer should be the same. Why aren’t they discussing this?

    This article is nothing but a cover up. Repeal Act 46. Very, very sad.

    Dave the attorney has brains and knows what is going on…there are better ways. These article,are sugar coating what goes,on on Montpelier.

  4. Please think about the following every time you see a school bus or an industrial school complex.

    Looking for a solution to state-controlled education problems to come from the state, where the super-majority political party
    that controls law-making, is truly an arm of the teachers’ union as well very supportive of the industrial monopoly model of education, is a huge waste of time. It simply consumes energy that could otherwise be actually used to actually improve education options for children.

    Ultimately it should be about the children and finding a way that upon graduation they have a clear understanding of the realities of life, so for example they will not be open to repeating some of the worst parts of human history by experimenting with destructive ideas like socialism.

    If you want small local schools where parents truly have a say, so your children can have an engaging education where the values that create a foundation for concepts like individual liberty, then create them. That simply is the only way to get there. Those who are invested in our current industrial monopoly system will never move in that direction.

    So be creative, find a way for one parent to stay home to raise your children, join together with a few other families with similar values and goals and create a coop school. See if as a group you can rent space in a local church building a few hours a week, as needed. Church buildings are empty almost every day, just waiting to be better utilized. Very likely the rent will be very small as it should be if the people in the church are community mission minded.

    There are plenty of curriculum options to choose from. Some with more traditional paper and books, others that make use of our Internet world. I would be happy to help point anyone toward options and I suspect I only know of a fraction of the options.

    Putting together a school like this takes very little effort. Executing it takes real effort. But they are your children and it is their future that is at stake. Don’t let them be programmed with nonsense in the industrial monopoly state-controlled “education” system.

    • You got it, if the state offered parents a choice, public school for $22k per student or a parent could take $5,000 and do as they wish, the kids would be so much better off and we’d reduce the costs by 75%. Yeah, they don’t even want to get into that discussion.

      • Don’t shoot from the hip, folks. Study up on Vermont’s education law. The State already accommodates parents in grades 7-12 with school choice ‘tuition’ vouchers. Elementary school tuition vouchers are also available. But the elementary school process is a bit more complicated.

        The 2018-2019 Average Announced Tuition of Union Elementary Schools is $13,910.00.
        The 2018-2019 Average Announced Tuition of Union 7th-12th Grade Schools is $15,618.00.

        All you need is a ‘local’ school board to grant your request.

        16 V.S.A. § 822 School district to maintain public high schools or pay tuition
        (c)(1) A school district may both maintain a high school and furnish high school education by paying tuition:
        (A) to a public school as in the judgment of the school board may best serve the interests of the students; or
        (B) to an approved independent school or an independent school meeting education quality standards if the school board judges that a student has unique educational needs that cannot be served within the district or at a nearby public school.
        (2) The judgment of the board shall be final in regard to the institution the students may attend at public cost

        I underlined the critical language. “THE JUDGMENT OF THE BOARD SHALL BE FINAL”. It’s the only ‘control’ local voters and their districts have left to them. There’s supporting language in the recent Superior Court Rulings too. If you want to win the game, learn the rules and play it. Elect sympathetic school boards.

        • It would be nice if there was a clause that said, not unreasonably withheld.

          From a practical standpoint, I don’t see how the public could change the make up of the board, there are too many inside interests for self protection.

          Re reading the words you’ve put up, I’m not sure there is a practical way for it to work. It can’t be for the sole reason, I want a different school, your child has to be special in order to leave. The rest of us kids will be stuck….how many examples are there of parents getting this?

          • It works! My district has been ‘tuitioning’ 7th & 8th graders for decades. Ninety other Vermont districts also have ‘tuitioning’. The issue is with your ‘local’ school board, not the AOE or SBOE. It’s easier to elect local board members sympathetic to individual parent requests than to try to get the legislature, AOE or SBOE to change its tune.

            And not only does ‘tuitioning’ work – parents and students are happier, Special Education labeling goes down, and the budgeted cost per student is about 20% less than it otherwise would be. That means lower taxes.

          • Re: “It can’t be for the sole reason, I want a different school, your child has to be special in order to leave.”

            All children are ‘special’. All children learn differently.

            Again, all that’s required is a sympathetic ‘local’ school board. And with the latest court rulings, all ‘local’ boards should be sympathetic.

            Check out this comment by the chair of the Holland school board.

            Many put the blame for Holland’s predicament on Act 46, the state’s sweeping school-district consolidation law. Residents voted to close the school after the education secretary recommended in June that Holland merge with Derby.
            “Before some yo-yo in Montpelier says, ‘You’re going to close and merge with this school,’ we wanted to do as much as we could on our own,” Petell said. “By voting to close the school and tuition our kiddos to Derby, we still have a little bit of voice in our kids’ education and what happens to our school building.”


  5. Act 46 doesn’t change Vermont’s public school governance, it simply consolidates it. Recent Superior Court Rulings have exposed just how ‘State’ governance has been, for years, circumventing local education control in two tangible, easily understandable terms that Vermonters are finally beginning to realize.

    First – Local school district governance, voted upon and funded by local district electorates, has been systematically disenfranchised. The State owns all public school district assets, from school buildings and buses, to textbooks and computers, to pencils and paper.

    “As a matter of law, school district assets lawfully belong to the State;”
    Athens School District v. VT State Board of Education

    Second – The State Board of Education, not a local school district board, controls all school curriculum; what is taught, how it’s taught, and, importantly, what isn’t taught – including the assessments measuring its educational effectiveness.

    “The Vermont Supreme Court has explicitly held that in Vermont, the obligation to provide a public education is a State, not a local, obligation.”
    Elmore-Morristown Unified Union School District, Stowe School District, and Lamoille South Supervisory Union v. VT State Board of Education.

    There is, however, a performance based and cost-effective local education governance option still available but, to date, still not emphasized. More on that later.

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