Editor’s note: This commentary is by Rick Gordon, PhD., who is a member of the Westminster School Board.
Somehow lost in the whole discussion of Act 46 is the question of what are the real benefits of merging and what are the costs? The main arguments for merging are the short term incentives given from the state, as expressed by the Superintendent of Washington West Supervisory Union, “Even though many may have concerns about consolidation, the tax incentives offered appear to be too great to ignore.”
Secretary of Education Holcombe has stated these incentives are merely offsets to cover the cost of merging. And who will pay for all these “offsets”? With no funding mechanism in Act 46, the cost of merging and all its “incentives” will fall on all of us taxpayers.
The problem Act 46 was intended to address was decreasing student numbers in Vermont and the related high cost per pupil cost of education. It is unclear how merging districts would address decreasing enrollm...