Local News

Barstow School Board to consider limiting school choice to only three public options

By Ethan Weinstein

The Barstow School Board, home to students from Mendon and Chittenden, will discuss on Sept. 9 whether to limit students’ funded high school choices to only three area public schools.

The move comes in the wake of two court cases earlier this year, which ruled it unconstitutional for towns to prevent students from using town tuition vouchers to attend religious schools. Vermont had for decades prevented taxpayers from funding religious school tuition.

Currently 86% of Barstow Memorial School graduates attend Rutland High School, Otter Valley High School, or Proctor High School. If voters opt to restrict school choice, Barstow students would have to choose one of these three public schools for high school or pay tuition out of pocket.

Such a vote would prevent Barstow graduates from using tax dollars to attend schools such as Killington Mountain School, Mount St. Joseph Academy in Rutland — a Catholic school — and Mill River Union High School, in North Clarendon.

The Chittenden and Mendon residents organizing the discussion, who are members of the school board, take issue with private schools’ denying enrollment to students based on race, gender, and sexual orientation. Some private schools also do not provide special education, whereas public schools are required to provide education for all area students including those with special needs.

It is unclear when a vote regarding school choice could take place.

2 comments on “Barstow School Board to consider limiting school choice to only three public options

  1. There are, I believe, some inaccuracies in this article. Yes, it is being pushed by residents of Mendon and Chittenden, but only so much as those residents are also members of the school board. To date, there has been no other party, to my knowledge, who have come forward stating a request in this change.

    In addition, students could still go to MSJ and KMS, but without the EQUITABLE funding provided by the towns of Mendon and Chittenden for students to attend other schools such as RHS, Proctor, and OVHS.

    I’m pleased to see that you found that only 86% of the students currently graduate from these schools, as those proposing the change are claiming it is 95%.

    I hope the Mountain Times follows this closely, as it could have repercussions for other sending towns in the state. We’re suddenly in the spotlight, trying to save one of the great assets of Mendon and Chittenden. More accurate reporting in who is proposing the change to the policy would be welcomed.

    1. Hi Liam,

      Thank you for bringing these inaccuracies to our attention. I’ve updated the story to reflect that the discussion has to do with spending tax dollars toward tuition, not barring students from attending certain schools.

      We will be following closely any further developments to this story.

      Thank you for your readership.

      Ethan Weinstein

Comments are closed.

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