A confidential memo obtained by Vermont Public Radio shows that the Agency of Education is still working to decipher a school reform law passed by the Legislature earlier this year. The ambiguity centers on how to deal with the 93 Vermont towns where parents get to decide what school their children attend.
The four-page memorandum was authored by Gregory Glennon, the general counsel at the Agency of Education. It was sent last week to members of the Vermont State Board of Education.
In the memo, Glennon asks the board to resolve unanswered questions around what happens when districts with school choice — places where towns don’t operate their own elementary, middle or high school — merge into a new governance structure that has schools those students could now attend.
Would the students from the choice districts have to attend the school in the merged structure? Would students from some towns in the new governance structure continue to have the option of school choice, while students from other towns did not? Are choice districts precluded from even considering a merger with a district with its own schools, if it meant loss of choice for the students that previously had it?
“We have been presented, at the agency, with a variety of insights about the meaning of Section 4,” Glennon wrote, referring to the section of the reform law that addresses the choice district issue. “This appears to be a case of the Legislature having spoken, but we aren’t sure what they have said.”[…]
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