Letter, Opinion

Killington informational meeting on Act 46 held, Oct. 24

Dear Editor,
I have been on the Killington School Board for over 10 years and this is my first letter to the editor. I am writing to invite you all to a meeting that will be held on Monday, Oct. 24 at 7 p.m. at the Killington Elementary School library. The School Board is holding this meeting to inform the voters of Killington about Act 46, the 2015 school board consolidation law. I have been Killington’s representative on an Act 46 Committee that has met every other week for nearly 18 months (that’s right,we have met over 30 times!).
According to the legislature under Act 46, some of the reasons school districts are encouraged to merge their boards include the following:
to provide equity in educational opportunity for all students in a district,
to maximize operational efficiencies,
to move Vermont toward sustainable models of education governance, and,
to provide all of the above at a cost that taxpayers value.
In order to encourage towns to consolidate under the Act 46 preferred model, the state of Vermont is offering short-term tax incentives, as well as allowing towns to retain existing funding grants.
For the town of Killington, this would mean forming a unified PreK-12 school district with the towns of Woodstock, Pomfret, Bridgewater, Reading and Barnard. A vote by Killington residents to consolidate into a single unified district board would mean:
a single school board for these six towns,
district schools instead of individual town schools,
a 10-member school board (3 members from Woodstock, 1 member from each of the other towns and 2 at-large members),
all district teachers under a single contract and part of the state teachers union (KES teachers are not presently members),
school property and building ownership transferred to the new unified district,
one budget for the entire district voted on by Australian ballot by all the towns in the district, and
once a town votes to become a member of a new unified district, rescinding that relationship is nearly impossible.
In my tenure on the Killington School Board, I have not been a part of discussions that are so important to the future of our school and our town. In March 2017, you may be asked to vote by Australian ballot on Articles of Agreement that would create a new unified union school district, as well as elect an individual who would represent Killington on that new school board. This vote would directly affect our school, the future of our children’s elementary education, our school board and our school budget.
I urge you to attend the informational meeting on Monday, Oct. 24. I look forward to sharing with you the information that I have and to answering your questions.
This is a crucial issue for our school and town. Please get involved, please ask questions. As a community, we need to understand what Act 46 means to the Town of Killington and to Killington Elementary School.  Many thanks,
Jennifer Iannantuoni, Killington

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