By Stephen Seitz
LUDLOW—It seems that the question of combining the elementary school systems of Ludlow and Mount Holly is not yet fully decided.
A petition has been filed to reconsider the November vote, in which Ludlow voted 344-172 and Mount Holly voted 341-66 to adopt the proposal. In other words, a do-over.
“I don’t know who filed the petition,” Ludlow Town Clerk Ulla Cook said. “I have yet to get the ballot from the school.”
Under the merger, the towns would keep their elementary schools, but send their middle and high school students to other towns. Mill River in North Clarendon would most likely get Mount Holly’s students, while Green Mountain Union High School in Chester is the likely school for Ludlow students. Black River High School has until June 2020 to close.
The revote also throws a monkey wrench into plans by the Black River Independent School Committee (BRISC) to keep Black River Middle-High School open as an independent school. The group would like to call the new school “Black River Academy,” after its predecessor. The original academy building is now a local history museum.
Responding to an email inquiry, BRISC spokeswoman Uli Donohue said they were pleased with the vote in November.
“I want to clarify that we did not initiate the petition,” she wrote. “We were very happy with the outcome of the first vote and it is our hope that the second vote will be a repeat of the first with a solid ‘yes’ result. Other members of the community felt there was too much confusion around the first vote and wanted to repeat it.”
Donohue said the group would be calling itself Black River Academy, and is working on plans to get its message out.
“Despite the revote,” she wrote, “we are proceeding with our plans as we believe this is the best option for the towns. We are currently working on information for the website, opening a bank account, and developing a strategic plan for the new school as well as a budget.”
Full information on Black River Academy can be found at blackriveracademy.org.
The group has set up a crowdfunding page at GoFundMe and has raised more than $1,500 of its $3,000 goal. It can be found at gofundme.com/blackriverindependentschool.
The group also holds weekly meetings every Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. at either the Black River High School Library or the Ludlow Elementary school library.