Media coverage by VT Digger and Vermont Watchdog.org: School choice support reaffirmed at Vermont Statehouse.
February 27, 2016
Contact: Rep. Vicki Strong
Save Our School Choice
Montpelier, Vt. – Around seventy school choice supporters from all over the state gathered with a bipartisan group of legislators to support a remedy for an unintended consequence of Act 46 – the loss of school choice.
Rep. Vicki Strong (R-Albany) explained, “Vermont has a proud 150-year old heritage of school choice in over 90 towns. However, school consolidation efforts mandated by Act 46 have led communities (such as Westford and Elmore) to surrender this privilege when merging with non-school choice towns. Such outcomes were never the intent of Act 46 for many of us who serve in the legislature.” Many lawmakers believed that Act 46 would allow communities that currently have school choice to retain this privilege when merging with non-school choice towns.
In addition to Strong, the press conference featured speakers including Rep. Linda Martin (D-Wolcott), Rep. Chip Troiano (D-Stannard), Rep. Heidi Scheuermann (R-Stowe), Rep. Mike Hebert (R-Vernon), Merri Greenia (Principal, Craftsbury Schools), David Kelley (School Board Chair for Hazen Union High School in Hardwick), and Heather Bernier (a parent from Elmore).
Martin stated, “This issue is one that crosses all party lines, and we are hopeful that we can make the necessary adjustments either through sponsored legislation or amendments to an education bill. We feel that Vermonters do not support the unintended consequence of losing school choice as communities participate in the merger process.” Scheuermann added that she, along with Martin and other legislators, is sponsoring a bipartisan bill that would allow “certain merging districts to both operate a school and allow for tuitioning of those same grades.”
Bernier said, “Let us demand of Montpelier the protection of school choice, the repossession of school choice to the 2 guinea pig communities of Elmore and Westford, and dare I say, the expansion of school choice for all citizens of Vermont.