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Barre mergers approved by education board - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Barre mergers approved by education board

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BARRE, Vt. -

Voters in Barre and Barre Town will be among a group of at least three communities statewide that will weigh in on ACT 46 mergers on Election Day.

The Barre proposal was approved by the State Board of Education Tuesday. It's the latest round of mergers under Act 46, which gives incentives for districts to consolidate in an effort to lower property taxes and provide expanded offerings to students. If approved, the three schools in Barre and Barre Town would share one school board, resulting in estimated savings of upward of $4.2 million over four years. Officials say tax rates and other similarities between the towns make the decision a fairly easy lift compared with other districts. 

"The advantage now is that that board can really be thinking about students all the way from pre-K through grade 12, whereas our current board member on the committee have said, 'I understand I'm part of a bigger system like that, but my job is really to focus on pre-K through 8, so that's where my focus is," said John Pandolfo, Barre Supervisory Union Superintendent.

"We have been doing continual surveys of people both in Barre City and Barre Town, and as of our last survey, 66-percent of the people who responded have responded positively to a merger," said Alice Farrell, Act 46 Committee, chairwoman.

So far there have been about a dozen successful ACT 46 mergers around the state. Others slated for the November election include the Grand Isle, and Addison Northeast Supervisory Unions. A public forum on the Barre vote is scheduled for Thursday.

Click here for more info on the Barre vote.

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