On May 29, 2024

Why Act 127 is vital for Vermont’s rural education

Dear Editor,

In Vermont’s quest for equitable education funding, Act 127 represents a beacon of hope, especially for our rural communities. This legislation, informed by thorough research from Rutgers and the University of Vermont, revises the state’s school funding formulas to reflect the actual costs of educating students in diverse socio-economic settings, with a significant focus on rural districts.

Rural schools in Vermont face unique challenges that often go unnoticed outside of these communities. Higher poverty rates, limited access to services, and the absence of economies of scale make education more costly and logistically challenging. Unlike larger urban districts with more substantial tax bases and resources, rural districts cannot easily spread costs. This results in fewer educational opportunities and less support for students who already face significant barriers.

Act 127 addresses these disparities by implementing a pupil weighting system that recognizes and compensates for these inherent challenges. It ensures that schools in areas with higher poverty, greater distances, and smaller student populations receive adequate funding to provide a quality education. This is not just about redistribution of funds; it’s about recognizing and rectifying the historical and systemic neglect of rural educational needs.

By supporting Act 127, we are advocating for a more just and balanced educational system where every student, regardless of their rural or urban setting, has access to the necessary resources to succeed. This act acknowledges that our state thrives when every community has the tools to educate its youth effectively.

Furthermore, supporting rural education through Act 127 aligns with Vermont’s values of community and mutual support. Ensuring that rural schools are well-funded is not only an investment in the students’ futures but also in the economic stability and growth of our state. Well-educated communities lead to robust local economies and a more engaged citizenry.

As we move forward, it is essential for all stakeholders to understand the critical role of Act 127 in safeguarding the future of Vermont’s rural students. We must continue to champion this legislation, ensuring that it is not only preserved but strengthened, to uphold our commitment to every Vermont child’s right to a fair, adequate, and equitable education. Sincerely,

Matthew LeFluer, Alburgh

Editor’s note: LeFluer is a member of VLCT, VCCT, VTRC, UVM Network CDCI, Onecare Vermont, and Autism collaborative.

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