Vermont Supreme Court upholds Act 46 school consolidation

Published: Jul. 10, 2020 at 6:22 PM EDT
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The Vermont Supreme Court in a seismic ruling on Friday upheld Act 46, the controversial state law designed to consolidate school districts, reduce costs and streamline educational offerings.

Upwards of 30 school districts sued over forced school mergers, saying the 2015 law was unnecessary, violated local voters' control, and that it wasn't what lawmakers had intended to happen.

The justices ruled it's up to the state, not municipalities or the courts, to define local control.

Justice Eaton dissented from the decision.

The Scott administration, including has defended the law, saying it will eventually lower costs and improve educational opportunities for students attending smaller schools. Vermont Secretary of Education Dan French in a statement Friday said the court’s decision bookends what’s been more than a five-year at times contentious process.

"While it may not be the outcome some districts wanted, I hope they can move forward under these new structures to achieve greater equity and value for students, parents, voters and taxpayers," French said.

While many districts have consolidated under the law, a few have continued to hold out.