(Editor’s note: This is part of a series of stories looking at how the issue of school choice is complicating the push for districts to merge.)
Poor Roxbury is like the wallflower at the big dance reaching out for partners and being sidelined left and right. Pretty much in the geographic center of Vermont, with no alike school districts nearby that it could merge with, little Roxbury has found itself with the last cup at an empty punch bowl.
Roxbury operates classrooms for 60 students in pre-kindergarten through sixth grade and pays tuition for 39 students in grades seven through 12.
It is part of Washington South Supervisory Union along with Northfield. Last spring, when passage of Act 46 — the law pushing school districts to merge — looked likely, Roxbury School Board members started having discussions with Northfield and other communities to consider the options, according to Jon Guiffre, chair of the Roxbury board.
“We were trying to be ahead of the curve,” Guiffre said. The focus was on finding the best scenario that would provide the most opportunities for the students, and a reduction in tax rates wouldn’t hurt, Guiffre said.
A number of Roxbury’s tuition students go to U-32, which is in East Montpelier and part of Washington Central Supervisory Union. But when Roxbury and Northfield approached U-32 about unifying, it said no, Guiffre said.
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