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Act 46 Meeting Agenda and Minutes

Representing the Brattleboro Town School District, Dummerston Town School District,
Guilford Town School District, Putney Town School District and the Vernon Town School District


The Act 46 Study Committee will meet at 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday, June 6, 2017 in the WRCC Cusick Conference Room.


I. CALL TO ORDER – 6:00 p.m. – Alice Laughlin, Committee Chair






Review Process and Compliance
Prepare Questions for Meeting With AOE Staff and Attorney Chris Leopold



Note: In accordance with the following excerpt from WSESU Policy E-12 Electronic Communications Use and Retention

II. Use of E-Mail and Electronic Communications

The school board and administration will not use email as a substitute for discussion at board meetings, or for any business properly conducted at board meetings subject to the Vermont Open Meeting Law.


Brattleboro Town School District, Dummerston Town School District,
Guilford Town School District, Putney Town School District and Vernon Town School District

Act 46 Study Committee
Work Session Agenda, Minutes & Action Items
– March 23, 2017 at 6-8 PM – Putney Central School

Brattleboro: Kim Price*, David Schoales**, Jill Stahl Tyler*, Mark Truhan*
BUHS/ BAMS/WRCC: Ricky Davidson*, Ian Torrey* * denotes voting member,
Dummerston: Kristina Naylor** ***, Amy Wall* - Clerk ** denotes alternate voting member,
Guilford: Beth Bristol*, Erin Tkaczyk* *** denotes ex officio member
Putney: Richard Glejzer**, Alice Laughlin* - Chair
Vernon: Walter Breau*, Mike Hebert**

Also present
WSESU: Frank Rucker – Business Manager, Ron Stahley – Superintendent
Others: BCTV staff and members of the public listed on the public sign in sheet

Committee Guidelines
1. Work sessions will start and end on time.
2. Work sessions will last 2 hours unless decided otherwise by the Committee.
3. Members will give and receive with good intentions.
4. Members will follow “3 before me” as a guideline so all members have the opportunity to speak.
5. Members will conduct Committee business in front of the group.
6. Members will understand that silence on the part of another member does not imply agreement.
7. Members will site sources of evidence during discussion.
8. All members will be included in conversation and no side conversations will be conducted during the work session.
9. Members will stay on topic during discussions and will request the Clerk make note of additional topic(s) for future discussion.
10. Members will engage in the work at hand and administration will provide the space and support as needed to do so.

Agenda Items Led by
- Call to order Alice Laughlin
- Review, prioritize and establish desired outcomes for meeting Alice
- Review Study Committee member roles and public comments by Chair Alice
- Approve of minutes of previous work and info sessions – Feb 13 and March 3 Alice
- Review Study Committee process by Chair Alice
- Recognition of groups and/or individuals Alice
- Study Committee Work Session Alice, Ron Stahley
- Review Process and compliance
- Future meetings, Discussions Alice
- Adjournment

Work Session Minutes:
Chair Alice Laughlin called the work session to order at 6:06 pm, reviewed agenda items and confirmed with the Committee its usual process for public comments at selected points throughout the work session. Alice shared a letter to Secretary Holcombe and the State Board of Education requesting advice and guidance. No response had been received as of this meeting. This was not unexpected since the SBE reconvened and reorganized earlier this week.

Alice welcomed the public present and opened the floor to their thoughts, concerns and/or ideas which included:
On a motion made by Ricky Davidson, seconded by Beth Bristol and so voted, the minutes of February 13 and March 3 were accepted as written.

Alice and Ron Stahley provided information for the March 13th VSBA Education Legislative Report on S122 which would make slight adjustments to Act 46. The changes would provide greater flexibility to some districts who have not yet been able to craft or approve a merger proposal. The adjustments include:
1. Modification of the requirements of a “side by side” structure;
2. Extension of timelines for districts in study committees that either had a proposal rejected or that add a new district to the study committee after passage of S122;
3. Amendment to current law to allow a single district to withdraw from a union high school district upon voter approval but without approval of the voters from other member districts; and
4. Provision for a district that forms a conventional merger prior to July 1, 2019 to receive a $150K transition facilitation grant and a $10K transition facilitation grant to districts already unified that agree to take on an “orphan” district in their region at SBE request.
Frank Rucker noted that if the bill passes, then it does open the door for a 4-town merger vote in May. The deadline to comply is July 1, 2017. In the ensuing discussion of present circumstances, Alice, Ron and Frank repeatedly pointed out that there is no way forward with a side by side since Dummerston did not release Vernon from BUHS District #6 and that Vernon will file an injunction to halt a unification proposal that includes them.

At the request of the committee, Beth Bristol led an overview of the various configurations, their requirements and limitations/obstacles including REDs, MUUsD, Self-Study and Alternate Governance. She had presented this information at an earlier Study Committee work session and at Guilford School Board events. Details are available in the BCTV video recording of this (and previous) work session and on the Study Committee page on the WSESU website.

Alice asked Frank Rucker to speak to the questions that arose at Town Meeting re: the responsibility of the Study Committee. Frank confirmed that the Committee’s work is not confined to consideration of specific governance structures. Frank pointed out that the law states that a study committee is formed to consider the advisability of forming a union under Act 46 which includes alternative governance structure, self-study and preferred structures. The study committee does have the charge to evaluate all options and send its findings to the SBE. This study committee has fulfilled the other requirements of the law as well (informing local boards, etc.).

Alice Laughlin opened the floor to the public for thoughts, concerns and ideas before adjournment:
Should a proposal be offered to the four towns even if defeat is expected;
Proposed bills are still under review and financial aspects still under discussion;
Defense of Dummerston, its School Board and community members;
WSESU history of working well together; and
Challenge to the SU and Study Committee to address inequities without structural change as required by Act 46.
On a motion made by Kim Price, seconded by Ricky Davidson and so voted unanimously, the work session was adjourned at 7:47 pm.

Respectfully submitted, Amy Wall – Committee Clerk

Recordings of all WSESU Act 46 work sessions are available on the BCTV website. Information referenced during work sessions is posted on the Act 46 Study Committee page on the WSESU website.


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