Vermont schools being forced to merge hoped to catch a break Wednesday and win delay of the mandate until July.
But an amendment to put off all mergers until July fell short of the 76 votes need to pass. Opponents said it would only complicate the process and erase work already done.
“If all of a sudden there is a delay, we will have essentially undermined the credibility of those people who put their work on the line to bring their communities together to create merged districts,” said Rep. Peter Conlon, D- Addison-2.
The House adjourned after the 69-74 vote, but will take up another amendment Thursday that would allow for some of the districts to delay a merger.
The amendment that failed Wednesday was proposed by Rep. Heidi Scheuermann, R- Lamoille-1. It came after several school districts filed lawsuits, challenging the mergers under the state Act 46 education law.
“The communities being forced to merge are all in very different situations and at various points in the merger process,” Scheuermann said. “In order to ensure confidence in both the law and the process, it is imperative that we are given more time.”