Vermont Considers Ending Supervisory Unions

Published 03/18 2014 10:31PM

Updated 03/18 2014 10:48PM

MONTPELIER, Vt. - Vermont is looking to change who is in charge of schools.
Right now, lawmakers are considering doing away with supervisory unions and in their place push for bigger school districts to form.

In Montpelier Tuesday, people traveled to the statehouse to talk about the leadership of Vermont schools.

"It's about power. Who has the power. Who wants the power," says Lee Sease, from Randolph.

They were there to weigh in on a plan in the house education committee.

By 2020, supervisory unions would be done away with and districts would re-form, to provide education from kindergarten to twelfth grade.

"It's not about closing schools. In fact, I think by going to larger districts we might be able to keep a number of small schools open," says State Rep. Joey Donovan, D-Burlington.

Donovan says the new districts could offer more to students or make sure current programs are kept. Many school leaders including those from current supervisory unions agreed.

"I support the proposed governance changes because I think they will afford the very best, most equal educational opportunities for all our students," says Elaine Pinckney, superintendent of Chittenden South Supervisory Union.

But there were concerns. Some thought the plan hadn't been thought out well enough. Others were worried about the loss of local control.

"Vermonters are I think deeply imprinted with a local sense of community. This is a good thing. Trying to force people's sense of community into larger areas will damage that sense of community," says Conrad Smith.

Supporters hope to have the plan voted out of committee later this week. Its future is uncertain and will likely face opposition in the senate.

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