Report identifies Vt. education reforms - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Report identifies Vt. education reforms

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Former University of Vermont board of trustees chair Bruce Lisman has high hopes for Vermont's kids.

"For our children, the best thing we can do is create an education system that is among the best in the world," he said.

Monday Lisman and his team with the non-partisan think tank, Campaign for Vermont, released a report on education reform across the state. "We think we spend enough in our education system. That it should be reallocated more in the classroom, less -- if you will  -- in the broader management," Lisman said.

The group argues consolidating supervisory unions from more than 60 in Vermont to 15 could help save $160 million a year, money Lisman said would go a long way to introducing universal pre-K education in Vermont.
Darren Allen with the Vermont NEA is not surprised Campaign for Vermont is tackling education. "It is not unusual and it's actually encouraging that so many people care about the fate of the public schools," he said.

Retaining and supporting talented teachers and finding ways to pay them more is also a goal.  The think tank says the average Vermont teacher makes roughly $50,000 a year, ranking it 28th across the country.

"The idea that we need to tackle other issues than just the classroom in order to get the most out of students is refreshing, It's also a set of values that we at the state and national level have held for many years," Allen said.

The report also argues for more local control when it comes to funding schools instead of the current structure where taxpayers send money to Montpelier and it is then redistributed across the state. The group's Tom Pelham said a combination of their recommendations could make the state a destination for young families.  "The element in here that is important to us is, a build it and they will come mentality," he said.

Now Campaign for Vermont is set to make its case to lawmakers, parents, teachers, and taxpayers.

Click here to read the report.

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