6/7/17

June 7, 2017 - Important Update on Revote!

For Immediate Release: June 7, 2017  Important Update on Revote in Dover

Contacts: 
Dover School Board Chair Richard Werner (802) 380-7731
Windham Central Supervisory Union Superintendent William Anton (802) 365-9510
Dover Town Clerk Andy McLean (802) 464-5100


Dover to revote Act 46 merger articles

Voters in the Dover School District will re-vote approval of Act 46 merger Articles of Agreement with Wardsboro on Tuesday, July 11th by Australian ballot at the Dover Town Hall after being notified by the Vermont Agency of Education of a discrepancy in the Town Meeting articles voted on by Dover, Wardsboro and Marlboro.  Following is a summary of events necessitating the re-vote.

The Dover, Wardsboro and Marlboro Act 46 Study Committee’s final report included Articles of Agreement that prohibit closure of a school unless approved by the voters of the town in which the building is located found in Article 15, paragraph 2.  The State Board of Education approved the Study Committee’s report, with the all incorporated Articles on December 20, 2016.

The voters in Dover, Wardsboro and Marlboro voted on March 7, 2017 whether to approve the Articles of Agreement and form a new Unified Union Supervisory District.  Dover approved those articles while Wardsboro and Marlboro did not.  Approval by the voters of Marlboro was not necessary to form a new Unified Union Supervisory District.

Voters in Wardsboro petitioned for a reconsideration vote which was warned for May 1, 2017 and Wardsboro voters subsequently approved formation of the new Unified Union.
On May 30th, the AOE notified Windham Central Supervisory Union Superintendent Bill Anton that the Dover Warning for the March 7 vote included language not included in the other two town’s warnings.  Dover’s warning added a final additional sentence in Article 1: “No elementary school shall be closed without a unanimous vote of the River Valleys Unified School District Board, and an affirmative vote of the town in which it is located.”   

The AOE notified Superintendent Anton that the final sentence was not included in the final report on the proposed Articles of Agreement approved by the State Board of Education on the 20th day of December, 2016, which is on file in the town clerk’s office, and which will govern the River Valleys Unified School District.  The Wardsboro Warning for the May 1, 2017 Reconsideration Vote did not include the additional final sentence included in the Dover Warning.

The AOE consulted with Will Senning, Vermont’s Director of Elections at the Secretary of State’s Office and Chris Leopold, education attorney, regarding the discrepancy and subsequently notified Superintendent Anton that a re-vote was necessary.

The school closure protections of Article 15 (closure only if approved by voters of host town) are explicitly referenced in paragraph(c) of both the Dover March 7 Warning and the Wardsboro May 1 Warning – and therefore can only be amended by a vote of the UUSD electorate per Vermont statute 16 VSA § 706n.  It is the “unanimous vote of the River Valleys Unified School District Board” wording that was only in the Dover Warning which is problematic.   That wording can only be modified by the voters of the Dover School district.

Dover Town Clerk Andy McLean has posted the new warning on the Dover town website and will have absentee ballots available starting immediately.

Dover School Board Chair Rich Werner, who also chaired of the Act 46 Merger Study committee, indicated that the Dover School Board formally voted to recommend approval of the articles and the new warning.  The board had previously not taken a position on the merger for the Town Meeting Day Vote.

“Given the overwhelming approval Dover and Wardsboro’s voters have shown the merger, our board felt it was important to clearly support the sentiment of those votes.  While closure of either school is unanticipated, the articles are clear that only the voters in the host town can vote to close a school.  That does not change in this revote which will simply mirror the wording our neighbors in Wardsboro approved.”

Werner noted that time for questions and discussion on the revote will be a part of the Dover School boards June 19th agenda.  That meeting will take place at 6 PM and will be followed by an informal meeting of Dover and Wardsboro citizens discussing future opportunities in the River Valleys School District.

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4/4/17

FINAL VERSION  (pdf document-36 pages)
click here to open
Report and Articles of Agreement
Dover, Marlboro & Wardsboro
Act 46 Elementary Study Committee
Dated December 8, 2016/ VT AOE letter December 20, 2016

WARDSBORO RE-VOTE
A petition for re-vote in Wardsboro was filed.

Public information meetings are being held on:
April 4, Tuesday, at Wardsboro Elementary  School
6:30 pm - open public meeting

April 24, Monday, at Wardsboro Town Hall
6:30 pm - open public meeting

VOTING DAY FOR WARDSBORO ONLY
May 1, Monday
Town Office, Wardsboro

Questions? email here


 

3/8/17

Voting results on Act 46 Merger 3/7/2017

Voting Results on Act 46 Articles of Agreement for Dover, Marlboro and Wardsboro
Voting held on March 7, 2017

Merger failed
Dover - approved (124 -75)
Wardsboro - rejected  (79-62)
Marlboro - rejected (264-66)


Click here to read the full 30-page Report & Articles of Agreement prepared by the Act 46 Elementary Study Committee for Dover, Marlboro and Wardsboro.

2/28/17

Important Updates 3/7/2017

page updated 3/7/2017


Click here to read the full 30-page Report & Articles of Agreement prepared by the Act 46 Elementary Study Committee for Dover, Marlboro and Wardsboro. 
VOTING
At your town's polling places
March 7, 2017
10 am to 7 pm   
Public Information Forum Videos
-for videos of the public information meetings - scroll down this page
The final public information session was held on Feb. 27th.
Voters and others seeking information that will help them decide how to vote on Tuesday, March 7, 2017 on the Act 46 Articles of Agreement may ask a question by clicking HERE.
wcsu.media@windhamcentral.org
or contact any one of the committee members.   
See the bottom of this page for a letter to voters from the committee.    




This is a 17 page (PDF file, >18MB) of the slide presentation that is being used at the Public Information Meetings. During the meetings, various Committee Members talk about each and every line on each slide and answer all audience questions on each part in detail. CLICK HERE

Time to decide!

If you missed a meeting, watch it on BCTV online - here are the links to the videos of the Public Information Presentations by the Committee Members. Note - it takes a couple of days for the videos to be ready to post after each evening.

BCTV VIDEO OF PUBLIC INFORMATION PRESENTATIONS
Marlboro  January 12, 2017  VIDEO  (no printed minutes)
Printed Questions and Answers from January 12, 2017 (anyone can view, no sign in required)
Dover  January 19, 2017  VIDEO  (no printed minutes)
Printed Questions and Answers from January 19, 2017 (anyone can view, no sign in required)
Wardsboro  January 23, 2017  VIDEO  (no printed minutes)
Printed Questions and Answers from January 23, 2017 (anyone can view, no sign in required)
Wardsboro  February 2, 2017  VIDEO  (no printed minutes)
Printed Questions and Answers from February 2, 2017 (anyone can view, no sign in required)
Marlboro February 13, 2017 VIDEO (no printed minutes)
Dover February 27, 2017 VIDEO ( no printed minutes)

Community Letter   (click here to read it or print it as pdf file)
Issued 2/15/2017
Dear Community Members,                         
            On March 7th, Town Meeting Day, there will be a ballot vote at your town's designated polling place, with the two articles asking whether to consolidate the three Districts into a single unified governance district and, if consolidated, who will serve as Directors representing your town on the new district board.
            Recommended Articles of Agreement, forming and governing the new proposed Unified District, were agreed upon by the Dover, Marlboro, and Wardsboro Act 46 Study Committee at its duly warned meeting of November 17, 2016. The Dover, Marlboro, and Wardsboro Act 46 Study Committee recommends that the Articles of Agreement be voted on by the electorates of each of the named school districts in order to create a Unified Union School District to be named the River Valleys Unified School District (RVUSD). The “Articles of Agreement” has received approval of the State Board of Education.
Voting “Yes” on the consolidation question means:
·        We will have one single board with representation based on census population: Dover - 3, Marlboro - 3, Wardsboro – 3
·        Day to day operation of our schools will not change. They will continue to provide a high quality education for our students.
·        All of our children will be eligible to participate in the elementary school choice program of the unified district and the existing secondary school choice program.
·        The unified district will have a school-based school board that will take care of individual school business until 2019 and it will also provide information to the Unified Union School District—RVUSD.
·        Consolidation will minimize fluctuating tax rates that result from year-to-year changes in a town’s student population. If the new district were to have a change of 10-15 students, it will have a much smaller effect on the larger district than on our current smaller districts.
·        The new district will have $261,328 in small school grants that Dover, Marlboro and Wardsboro currently receive continued as “merger grants.” Additionally, we will receive up to $150,000 to help with the organizational costs of the new district and we will receive decreasing annual tax breaks for four years starting with 8 cents.
·        The voters of the three districts will decide on Town Meeting Day 2017 whether to form this Unified District or not. If Dover and Wardsboro both approve the merger the unified district will be created.  Marlboro's positive vote would mean adding Marlboro to the unified district.
·        As this is a side by side governance consolidation, it is contingent upon the Leland & Grey vote.
·        In Marlboro, the 7 and 8 grade program will cease to exist and parents would have to choose a middle school for their child to enroll in with the cost paid by the new unified district.
A “No” vote means:
·        The proposed unified District will not replace the three district system currently in place.  It will not mean that consolidation goes away. Act 46 mandates consolidation by 2018 or the State Agency of Education has the authority to consolidate us with whichever district they choose in 2019.
·        A “no” vote may mean giving up our choice on how we consolidate governance.
·        With the Articles of Agreement that will be voted upon on Town Meeting Day, there are significant protections for each of our schools and towns against an unwanted school closure. This will most likely not be the case if we are joined to another district by the State Agency of Education.
·        A no vote in Marlboro is different than a no vote in the other towns.  Marlboro voters can, at any time before March 31 2018, re-vote to enter into the merger with Dover and Wardsboro.
Thank you, 
The Act 46 Study Committee
Dover: Richard Werner, Chairperson, Jonathan Vicary, Laura Sibilia, Randy Capitani
Wardsboro: Dwight Boerem, Vice Chair, Mike Murphy, Jill Dean
Marlboro: Celena Romo, Secretary, Lucy Gratwick, Dan MacArthur
Community Informational Meetings have been scheduled for February. Please come to one and ask your questions and we will answer them. The Articles of Agreement, can be found on the windhamcentralboard.org website or wcsu-committee.blogspot.com
Please mark your calendar: March 7th is Town Meeting Day and polling hours are 10AM to 7PM!