Group of lawmakers to push Act 46 delay

Published: Jan. 17, 2019 at 12:41 PM EST
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Lawmakers across the political spectrum want to delay forced mergers under Act 46.

Lawmakers from around the state and all political parties have introduced two bills to temporarily prevent the state from going through with the forced merged of some local school districts under Act 46. The controversial 2015 law sought to consolidate school governance around the state and it's in the final stages of implementation.

But some local districts have resisted and there are three pending lawsuits challenging the law.

Democratic Rep. Mike Mrowicki D-Putney, says local communities need more time to explore options. "We're in an area full of conflict now, with town against town, school board against school board, and neighbor against neighbor, to the point now where you have the school board of Brattleboro writing a letter to the town of Vernon, basically saying, 'We don't want you around,'" he said.

Republican Rep. Heidi Scheuermann, R-Stowe, says no forced mergers should happen until the lawsuits are resolved. "If the plaintiffs are successful in their suit, it will be virtually impossible to unravel those merged districts once they're merged," she said.

One of the bills introduced calls for a moratorium on mergers until court cases are resolved. The other seeks to delay any forced mergers until July first of next year.