Vt. school districts put the brakes on Act 46 implementation

Published: Feb. 20, 2019 at 12:50 PM EST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

Dozens of Vermont school districts are in limbo as they await a court decision appealing forced mergers under Act 46.

Several hundred residents of the five towns comprising the Washington Central Supervisory Union voted in a special meeting Tuesday night to postpone selecting a new unified school board until a judge makes a ruling on whether or not to temporarily block the forced mergers until the case is decided.

Judge Robert Mello heard arguments from both sides last Friday in St. Albans and is expected to issue a ruling in the coming days. Meanwhile, the 30 school districts challenging the law are debating whether to implement the State Board of Education's consolidation plans.

Orleans Southwest Supervisory Union residents have also voted to wait until the court or the Legislature takes action. The House has approved a bill to delay the mergers, but the Senate has so far taken no action, as lawmakers also wait for the legal decision.

With school boards in the process of drawing up budgets and making critical hiring decisions, critics of postponing the creation of unified boards say some towns are flouting the law.

But opponents of school consolidation argue that the law is unconstitutional to begin with and that the state board never had the authority to re-draw school districts.