Chittenden & Mendon Act 46 FAQ
What options exist for Chittenden and Mendon under act 46?
As two towns in RNESU who both offer high school choice and operate a school Pk- 8, the two towns can opt to merge into a Barstow District. This means the current Joint Agreement would be dissolved and new articles for a single Barstow District would be written. Both actions would happen through two ballot items for voters to act upon.
However, a Barstow agreement is too small in numbers to exist on its own and would still need to be part of a supervisory union. This means Rutland Northeast would continue to exist with a Side by Side arrangement, with OV towns merging into an OV district, if that is their decision, and Chittenden and Mendon merging into a Barstow district. Both districts would operate under Rutland Northeast, very similar to how they do now.
Chittenden and Mendon may also choose to join the Rutland Central Supervisory Union by joining with Rutland Town, which also offers high school choice. That new district would then be in a Side by Side model in Rutland Central.
A third option is for the Barstow district to invite Rutland Town to join Barstow in the Rutland Northeast SU, again resulting in a Side by Side model.
Ultimately, Barstow will need to decide if it merges into a district if they wish to include Rutland Town and if they do, under what supervisory union.
Can Mendon and Chittenden keep high school choice?
Yes, Act 46 is very clear that only the residents of a town can vote to end choice. Here is the Secretary's memo regarding school choice.
Recently, the State Board of Ed issued a decision that a district cannot offer choice and a high school. If we stay with Rutland Northeast, what does that mean for us?
If the towns of Chittenden and Mendon decide to merge into a Barstow district, they will retain choice. If the OV town districts merge into an OV district, they will offer OV as their high school. Both of these scenarios can happen because each (Barstow and OV) are their own district. The state board said ONE district cannot offer both; OV and Barstow would be two districts and each can offer one option. This is what the Side by Side model in Act 156 was created for.
What if the towns of Chittenden and Mendon do not wish to merge?
Act 46 is very clear that if districts do not wish to merge with other districts, there will be a number of responses by the state, including:
loss of tax incentives
loss of small schools grants and hold harmless monies
Unless the town districts can demonstrated geographical isolation or academic excellence, the Secretary of Education will develop a plan in 2018 that is likely to result in a merger as laid out by the state, without the voice of the community in the development of the new articles. If this were to happen, the state cannot force the end of choice, however.
What is a Side by Side model that a Barstow District would be part of?
Act 156 allows two towns of a similar governance structure to merge (ie, Chittenden and Mendon high school choice) alongside two towns of a different governance structure who merge (ie, the OV towns with a designated high school) , thus creating a side by side governance structure within a supervisory union (ie RNESU would still exist but with a Barstow District and an Ov District side by side). One of the new districts must provide education in all elementary and secondary grades by operating one ore more schools (OV) and the other new district must pay tuition in one or more grades (Barstow). Each new district must have the same effective date of merger and are members of one supervisory union. (RNESU)
What would FY2016 Budgets have looked like under the following: 1) Chittenden & Mendon were 1 District
2) Chittenden/Mendon & Rutland Town were 1 District?
Click here to view the the rough numbers.