School Governance Merger Vote
MARCH 7th, 2017 to Join the
Kingdom East School District
School districts serving Burke, Concord, Lunenburg, Lyndon, Newark, Sutton, and Union District #37 (Millers Run: Sheffield & Wheelock) will vote to possibly join Kingdom East School District.
View the slide presentation from the informational meetings:
VERMONT LEGISLATURE PASSES ACT 46
Act 46, passed in 2015, encourages and eventually requires school districts to merge into larger units. Under Act 46, each town is viewed initially as an individual district. The law states the intention is to reduce education costs and enhance student opportunities in Vermont through a simpler and more sustainable governance model through school district consolidation.
A group of school board members and community members have been working on studying district consolidation since the fall of 2015. In the spring of 2016, five of the six school districts in the Caledonia North Supervisory Union, and Concord and Lunenburg districts from the Essex Caledonia Supervisory Union, formed the Kingdom East Governance Study Committee.
In March, voters in the Burke, Concord, Lunenburg, Lyndon, Miller’s Run (Sheffield and Wheelock), Newark, and Sutton will vote by Australian ballot to decide if their school district will join Kingdom East School District.
ARTICLES OF AGREEMENT
The complete final report and articles of agreement outlining the structure of the new Kingdom East School District can be found at the local town clerk’s office, local school, school website, or here on the Kingdom East website at:
IMPORTANT HIGHLIGHTS OF THE KINGDOM EAST SCHOOL DISTRICT ARTICLES OF AGREEMENT
- The new school district will provide PK-8 to all students in the district and high school choice to all grade 9-12 students.
- No school can close without a positive vote of the voters in the town the school is located and a board supermajority vote (80% or the board).
- The new district will comply with and honor current employee contracts and will commence negotiations for new contracts as required under Vermont law.
- The Kingdom East District recognizes the benefits from a district wide curricula and will offer consistent educational opportunities for all students across the district.
- Operating deficits and/or surpluses of any of the combining districts shall become the property, and/or obligation, of the Kingdom East School District as of July 1, 2018. Any encumbered funds voted by the electorate of the merging school district will be used in accordance of the said provisions. For example funds in a town set aside for future capital improvements in that town will be utilized in the future for capital improvements only in that town.
- Buildings, land, and property will be conveyed to the new district. The property will return to the town for $1 if at some future date the new school district does not use the building.
- If at least four school districts vote to approve the merger, the Kingdom East School District will be formed by those districts that voted yes to merge and they will commence full operation on July 1, 2018.
Above financial estimates were developed using assumptions of $230,000 savings in the first year based upon central office reductions. The budget for a no vote has been increased by a 3% each fiscal year base. The budget for the yes vote has been increased by 2.5% each fiscal year. This is based on continued slower growth. Any “Phantom Students” have been removed due to the new hold harmless statute beginning in FY19. The equalized pupil count remains constant for all years in this model. DISCLAIMER—This financial model was created using the “assumptions” listed above. Creating a financial model for future costs and tax rates can be both complicated and lack precision. There is no way, with 100% accuracy, to predict everything from what the legislature will do to regional or national economic trends. As such, tax rates listed in this financial model are not likely to be EXACTLY as shown in this publication, but are our closest ESTIMATES at this time.
WHAT IF THE VOTE TO MERGE WITH KINGDOM EAST SCHOOL DISTRICT DOES NOT PASS IN OUR TOWN?
Act 46 creates a multi-year process that provides tax incentives for communities that voluntarily merge into unified governance models.
July 1, 2017 is an important date.
Districts that do not pursue or achieve a voluntary merger vote by July 1, 2017 must evaluate their ability to meet or exceed State goals and make proposals to the State Board.
If a district (town) does not voluntarily merge, the State of Vermont will determine the district’s merging option. In 2018 the Vermont Secretary of Education will develop a proposal and the State Board will issue a final statewide design that realigns unmerged districts into sustainable models of governance that meet State goals. By being proactive, the Kingdom East Governance Study Committee seeks to assess the unification options and works to present a model for voter consideration that unifies our school governance, increases educational opportunities for all students, and meets the educational needs of our individual communities.
PUBLIC HEARING INFORMATIONAL MEETINGS
February 25th (Saturday) Burke School 9 AM
February 25th (Saturday) Concord School 10 AM
February 28th (Tuesday) Miller’s Run School 7 PM
March 1st (Wednesday) Sutton School 6 PM
March 6th (Monday) Lunenburg School 6 PM
March 6th (Monday) Lyndon School 6 PM
March 6th (Monday) Newark School 6 PM