Editor’s note: This commentary is by Margaret MacLean, who is an educator with 40 years’ experience and a Peacham resident. A former Vermont Principal of the Year, MacLean’s term on the Vermont State Board of Education ended in March 2015.
Last year the Legislature grappled with the issue of declining student enrollment and the resulting impact on education costs. They pondered how to respond to this problem in a way that would curb cost and at the same time enhance equity of opportunity for all Vermont students. The result is the new education law Act 46.
Since the law’s passage Vermonters have begun to understand the ramifications of the law and its impact locally. In doing so they have talked to legislators and it has been acknowledged from the governor on down that the law needs to be “tweaked” this session.
Act 46 would organize Vermont’s school system around units of at least 900 students with one school board and supe...
Editor’s note: This commentary is by Eric L. Davis, who is professor emeritus of political science at Middlebury College. It was first published in the Addison Independent on Dec. 10, 2015.
The consolidated school districts required by Act 46 are a threat to the values of democracy, local control and sense of place in small towns all over Vermont.
The legislative process that led up to the enactment of Act 46 last spring was not sufficiently thorough. The key parts of the law were written in haste at the end of the session. Members of the Legislature did not have enough time to consider the consequences of the bill, both intended and unintended.
What started out as an attempt to deal with increasing property taxes morphed into an attempt to improve educational opportunity by creating larger school districts. However, there is no consistent evidence, either from Vermont or from consolidation efforts in other states, that larg...