School district mergers sailed to approval at town meeting last week, showing how interest in local control of schools fades as voters are confronted with the potential of punitive mandates by the state.
Voters in elementary school districts in Addison, Franklin, Orange and Rutland counties agreed to dissolve individual town school districts, merging them into large districts governed by large, districtwide, central boards. These new consolidated districts will resemble union high school districts that already exist. Local elementary school boards will disappear after they usher in the changes that spell their demise.
Some supervisory unions are already well integrated, sharing services, coordinating curriculum and ready to embrace the consolidation into which they are being forced by the state. These constitute the low-hanging fruit. These districts have less to gain by consolidation because the individual towns are already working well together. In any event, no one is promising that consolidation will save a great deal of money. In fact, the demands of the process have compelled the Agency of Education to ask the Legislature to give them more personnel to administer the law.
I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!