By Stephen Seitz
LUDLOW— Here we go again. On Feb. 6 the towns of Ludlow and Mount Holly will once again vote on whether to create the Ludlow-Mount Holly Unified Union School District (LMHUUSD). The first vote (approved by both towns) was held Nov. 28. In Ludlow, voters approved the measure by a vote of 344 to 172. In Mount Holly, 341 voters said yes, but 66 said no.
The new district would educate pre-kindergarten through sixth-grade students, but send grades seven through 12 to other towns and pay tuition. Black River High School in Ludlow would close by June 2020. Ludlow students would most likely be sent to Green Mountain Union High School in Chester, while Mount Holly students would probably wind up at Mill River Union High School in Clarendon.
However, there is a contingent of people in Ludlow who want Black River to stay open, and they filed a petition for reconsideration. In Vermont, it takes 5 percent of the voters to petition for a revote; for Ludlow, that means about 80 people.
The revote applies only for the town of Ludlow. No one filed a revote petition in Mount Holly. Because this vote is a reconsideration and not a new proposal, the wording in the article remains exactly the same as when it was first voted on.
Two Rivers Superintendent Meg Powden said there will be a public forum on the revote to be held at 6 p.m. in the Ludlow Town Hall Auditorium on Jan. 29.
Voting takes place on Feb. 6. Polls will be open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Voting takes place at the Ludlow Town Hall.
Meanwhile, the future of Black River High School remains in doubt. A local group, Black River Academy, wants to establish an independent high school and use the name of its predecessor, the original Black River Academy.
In a recent email, spokeswoman Uli Donohue said, “I want to clarify that we did not initiate the petition. 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.”
For more information on the Black River Academy effort, visit blackriveracademy.org.