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Act 46 Study Committee 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 http://www.wssu.k12.vt.us


The Act 46 Study Committee will meet at 6:00 p.m. on Thursday, March 23, 2017 at the Putney Central School


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



IV. APPROVAL OF MINUTES – February 13 and March 2, 2017



Review Process and Compliance



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

WSESU Act 46 Study Committee
DTSD Public Information Meeting – February 13, 2017 – 6:00 PM – Dummerston School

In attendance: Amy Wall, Jill Stahl Tyler, Kim Price, Kristina Naylor
WSESU staff: Lyle Holiday, Frank Rucker, Ron Stahley
Public present: See DTSD public sign in sheet

Members of the WSESU Act Study Committee attended the Dummerston School Board’s informational meeting with the public on the upcoming February 21, 2017 revote vote on whether to release Vernon from BUHS #6 District. Those Committee members present provided information and answered questions raised by the public as necessary and permitted by the Dummerston School Board.

For a recording of the information session, please go to the BCTV website and search under the Dummerston School Board recordings.

Respectfully submitted, Amy Wall – Committee Clerk

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 2, 2017 at 6-8 PM – WRCC Cusick Room

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*, Alice Revis** *** 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, Lyle Holiday – Curriculum & Assessment
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 – January 25 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 6:07 pm, reviewed agenda items and confirmed with the Committee its usual process for public comments at selected points throughout the work session. Alice provided a historical review of the Study Committee’s work to date. She pointed out that the current report with Articles of Agreement has been well vetted and agreed upon by the members. Upcoming deadlines include scheduling a vote of the electorate by July 1. After this time, decisions on governance and structure will be determined by the State Board of Education with input from the VT Agency of Education. Alice shared that her ongoing reviews of proposed House and Senate legislation re: Act 46 indicate no significant change to the law.

Alice welcomed the public present and opened the floor to their thoughts, concerns and/or ideas which included:
A question on whether the Study Committee will submit a report for a 5-town merger and corresponding statement that Vernon will file an injunction to block progress until House bill H.239 is voted on.

A request for corrections to the January 25 minutes.

On a motion made by Ricky Davidson, seconded by Mark Truhan and so voted, the minutes of the January 25th work session were accepted with corrections on pages 2 and 3 to read: “…and that Vernon School Board nor the Study Committee should not be involved.” No action was taken on the February 13 minutes for the Dummerston information session since a quorum was not present.

Alice and Ron Stahley provided a summary of the hearing with the VT Senate Education Committee at BFMS on February 8. Ron reported that four districts were asked to present information on their Study Committee work re: Act 46. The hearing was a fact finding regional meeting that the Senate Education Committee was doing throughout the state. The Committee Chair Senator Baruth stated that they did not foresee significant change to the law based on the input they have received from Study Committees across the State. In addition to hearing from the Study Committees, Alice shared that some members of the public requested and were granted time to speak.

Amy Wall provided an updated on the Dummerston revote on whether to allow Vernon to withdraw from BUHS District #6. The revote was not in favor of allowing Vernon to leave and was again by a narrow margin. Amy shared and Deb Hebert confirmed statements made by Dummerston voters at the February 13th information session that included “… using Vernon as a pawn…” to stall the Study Committee’s work. Amy apologized on behalf of her community because she did not believe it the way neighbors should treat each other and that she had to believe that Dummerston as a whole was better than the few leading the initiative that resulted in December and February vote results. Vernon School Board member Deb Hebert acknowledged the apology and thanked Amy.

Alice initiated and led a discussion of process and compliance by the Committee. From the ensuing discussion, the Committee agreed by consensus that a thorough review of Alternative Governance Structures as presented by Beth Bristol will be presented at its next work session. Many members felt that proceeding with a vote on a 4-town merger was not advisable. A summary of the key points made during the discussion is:

1. The Study Committee crafted a report with Articles of Agreement that meets Act 46 requirements and puts children first;
2. Currently the Study Committee is at an impasse and is unwilling to proceed with a 4-town vote;
3. If a 5-town merger vote is scheduled, Vernon will file an injunction to halt the process pending decision on H.239;
4. To meet Act 46 vote deadlines, a vote of the electorate must happen before July 1, 2017;
5. It does not seem feasible to start anew given the tight timeline and unlike support for Vernon and/or Dummerston;
6. Guidance is needed from the State Board of Education and AOE on how best to proceed under the law.
Amy Wall made a motion to send the report with Articles of Agreement to the State Board of Education for advice and guidance with respect to its impasse and how our communities can meet Act 46 requirements. Kim Price seconded the motion. The vote was unanimous. Ensuing discussion confirmed that the motion did not ask the SBE for approval, no vote of the electorate is scheduled and no guarantees are included re: SBE decision on governance structure after November 2017.

Alice confirmed the next date on the Study Committee’s calendar is:
3/23/17 – 6 pm – work session – Putney Central School.

Alice Laughlin opened the floor to the public for thoughts, concerns and ideas before adjournment:

Questions about Vernon’s share of BUHS debt. Alice and Ron referred to the information posted on the WSESU website and the broadcast of the Dummerston Revote information meeting on 2/21/17 for the most current facts.

Disappointment on the current state and optimism that our communities can come together;

Statement that Vernon never wanted to stop the process for the other four towns.

On a motion made by Beth Bristol, seconded by Alice Revis and so voted unanimously, the work session was adjourned at 7:17 pm.

Respectfully submitted, Amy Wall – Committee Clerk


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