100 signatures reached
To: Vermont Legislature
Defend Local Education in Vermont
Defend local control of education in Vermont and block H.883 forced statewide consolidation.
Why is this important?
H.883 reduces local control, reduces transparency and accountability to voters, increases education costs and puts unprecedented power in the hands of the appointed State Board of Education. It was just voted out of the House Education Committee unanimously and moves on to the House Floor to be voted on.
15 years ago, the Vermont Legislature ended local funding for schools in Vermont and launched an unprecedented statewide education funding formula. This system unleashed spending and property tax increases that have set Vermont apart as an exceedingly expensive place to live. The system has persisted, regardless of its negative impact.
Despite these woes, Vermont’s schools are recognized as among the best in the country. However, now the House Education Committee has voted 10-0 for Bill H.883 to dramatically reduce local governance as well. This plan would establish 45-55 regional education districts, reducing local, elected oversight by 60-90%. Town meeting school budget presentations and votes would be eliminated. Much larger, more complex budgets would be voted on across districts by Australian Ballot.
The Agency of Education estimates $11 Million in increased expenditures associated with implementing this plan, exclusive of increased costs at the Agency to direct and oversee the consolidation. This grand plan is not designed to solve the spending problems or tax burdens that are crushing us, but would exacerbate them in the coming years. By totally reshuffling the governance deck, accountability for spending increases would be further undermined.
Do you consider independent, elected oversight of schools and budgets to be our big problem? In your view, would this legislation move education forward or backward in Vermont? It is time for our voices to be heard, so that the legislature does not proceed without regard for what the public wants.
Consolidation that benefits students and taxpayers is already possible. If you want to defend local control and block forced statewide consolidation, please sign on to our petition.