By Lani Duke
School reorganization plan breeds conflict
TINMOUTH — Folks in Tinmouth were scheduled to meet June 17 to discuss the effects of the state’s education reform bill on their school. Tinmouth School Board member Grant Reynolds is marshaling his community’s exploration of the changes, having arranged for Rutland South Supervisory Union Superintendent David Younce to present his perspective on the issue.
Proponents of strong local control over the schools in their communities resent the Legislature’s forced merger of small town school districts so that each supervisory district contain a minimum of 900 students with a single board, budget, and tax rate. Tinmouth could have either one member on a nine-member board or two on a 15-member board.
Tinmouth students already have school choice at the secondary level, so the town cannot be forced to give up either one. RSSU contains 926 students, 78 of them from Tinmouth. Wallingford, Shrewsbury, and Clarendon share the Mill River Union High School, and 90 percent of Tinmouth students attend there. The other members of RSSU are objecting to Tinmouth’s students’ ability to have school high school choice.
Tax breaks reward schools that voluntarily consolidate for efficiency and cost-savings within two years: ten cents the first year, eight the second year, and two cents less each succeeding year through the sixth year. But giving up some local control may open the option for a school district to decide whether or not to close an “uneconomical” school.
CASTLETON — State officials recently opined that a recent special town meeting’s balloting was not improper but that its procedures were not “best practices.” Sandy Mayo Jackson observed that the 41 individuals who received absentee ballots for the general election in March did not receive one for the single-issue revote.
Castleton’s town clerk, Nedra Boutwell, was elected to her position at the March town meeting. According to Vermont’s director of elections for the Secretary of State, William Senning, there is no statutory requirement that the town clerk send out absentee ballots to the same people who received them for the general election, but indicated that refining the statute governing their use is advisable.
Vicious dog to be removed
FAIR HAVEN — Fair Haven’s Select Board voted on June 16 to have Town Manager Herb Durfee draw up a seize order for a dog named Muffin. The dog has been accused of being vicious and its owner Charles Doty, Sr. was told more than 30 days before that he was to get the medium-sized, tan mixed breed out of town.
The sieze order allows police to take the dog, either placing it with an adoptive family, sheltering it outside Fair Haven, or having it put down humanely.
Doty had been given 30 days to resolve the situation but didn’t. The dog came to the town’s attention as a result of an attack reported in March 2014.