School & District Management News in Brief

Vt. Officials Face Backlash Over Mergers

By The Associated Press — December 11, 2018 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Audra Hughes and her husband moved to Stowe, a ski resort town in Vermont, five years ago, in part because of the schools.

Now, the district is being forced to merge its budget and school board with the neighboring district of Elmore-Morristown. It’s part of a 2015 law to create larger, more efficient districts in the rural state dotted by small towns, to give students more equal educations and improve results.

But the merger doesn’t sit well with Hughes and many residents in the three communities.

“I think that both of our school boards demonstrated the success of how we all currently operate on behalf of our students and I think that anything that takes away from our students is something I’m not comfortable with,” she said.

The communities are among at least 20 planning to take legal action against the state over the forced mergers. The state board of education released its final plan this month to merge 45 districts in 39 towns to form 11 new districts.

“If we are forced to merge this year, Elmore and Morristown residents will see their taxes rise,” Stowe and Elmore-Morristown school boards wrote in an open letter to their communities. “Both districts have pressing capital projects that could be compromised by a forced merger.”

Jamie Kollar of Elmore fears that pressure will rise to close her town’s one-room elementary school when three towns vote on one budget. She and her husband moved to the small rural community (population 860) where she was raised because it had offered an option for parents to send their children to other high schools. But six months after they arrived, that choice was eliminated when the district consolidated with Morristown in 2016.

“We just gave away so much initially in that merger and we’re just giving up more now in this forced merger with Stowe,” Kollar said. Not only are they losing control of their school budget but they will be paying taxes to a school system in Stowe that their kids can’t attend, she said.

Vermont’s education secretary had recommended that the two districts not merge, but the state board, which has the final say, rejected her recommendation.

Related Tags:

A version of this article appeared in the December 12, 2018 edition of Education Week as Vt. Officials Face Backlash Over Mergers

Events

English-Language Learners Webinar Helping English-Learners Through Improved Parent Outreach: Strategies That Work
Communicating with families is key to helping students thrive – and that’s become even more apparent during a pandemic that’s upended student well-being and forced constant logistical changes in schools. Educators should pay particular attention
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Mathematics Webinar
Addressing Unfinished Learning in Math: Providing Tutoring at Scale
Most states as well as the federal government have landed on tutoring as a key strategy to address unfinished learning from the pandemic. Take math, for example. Studies have found that students lost more ground
Content provided by Yup Math Tutoring
Classroom Technology Webinar Building Better Blended Learning in K-12 Schools
The pandemic and the increasing use of technology in K-12 education it prompted has added renewed energy to the blended learning movement as most students are now learning in school buildings (and will likely continue

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

School & District Management Opinion ‘This Is Not What We Signed Up For’: A Principal’s Plea for More Support
School leaders are playing the role of health-care experts, social workers, mask enforcers, and more. It’s taking a serious toll.
Kristen St. Germain
3 min read
Illustration of a professional woman walking a tightrope.
Laura Baker/Education Week and uzenzen/iStock/Getty
School & District Management Letter to the Editor Educators Must Look to History When They Advocate for Changes
Educators and policymakers must be aware of the history of ideas when making changes in education, says this letter to the editor.
1 min read
Illustration of an open laptop receiving an email.
iStock/Getty
School & District Management Letter to the Editor Reconsidering Causes of Principal Burnout
The state and federal governments are asking us to implement policies that often go against our beliefs, says this letter to the editor.
1 min read
Illustration of an open laptop receiving an email.
iStock/Getty
School & District Management Teachers Want Their Administrators to Teach. Here's Why
Principals and other education administrators should even be required to spend time teaching in the classroom, according to teachers responding to an EdWeek query.
Hayley Hardison
4 min read
Teacher Principal 11122021 1310106400
E+/Getty