Newbury residents vote against leaving unified school district

Published: Dec. 29, 2020 at 5:28 PM EST|Updated: Dec. 29, 2020 at 6:03 PM EST
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NEWBURY, Vt. (WCAX) - Newbury Residents have voted against withdrawing from the Oxbow Unified Union School District. They voted 140 to 169.

The merger resulted from Act 46, which was designed to consolidate school districts, in part to improve educational opportunities for students at smaller schools.

But not everybody in Newbury, which has just a single elementary school, is happy with the way things have panned out.

“Dealing with the pandemic and we haven’t passed a budget. There is just a lot going on for our community,” said Danielle Corti, the chair of the school board.

A petition was drafted to pull out of the new district. At the core of the debate is local control of both education and the tax dollars to fund it. They are issues that are usually debated in a public setting.

“And then the pandemic happens so we couldn’t necessarily be meeting publicly and have these conversations and try to explain it and get information out there,” Corti said.

Older Newbury students have gone to Oxbow High School in Bradford for decades.

Edith Fogarty, who teaches in Bradford, wants the district to stay united.

“Allows for more opportunities for our students. Allows for more collaboration with our teachers,” Fogarty said.

Matilda Martel, a paraeducator in Newbury, says she sees the benefits of both sides. She declined to say how she voted but says she’ll support either outcome.

“I think the town needs to be able to know what it is going to be able to look forward to. To be able to say, yes, I know that my child is going to be able to get a good education here,” Martel said.

Since the vote didn’t pass in Newbury, voters in Bradford still need to accept it. Ultimately, the state board of education will have the final say.

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