Patricia Komline

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House gives preliminary approval to school district merger bill

MONTPELIER — House lawmakers have given preliminary approval to a bill that would merge the state’s school districts and potentially cap education spending. By a vote that was not divided by party lines so much by the size of the towns and cities they represent, House members Wednesday approved a bill that would overhaul school governance in the state by a vote of 88 to 55. “This bill will provide for valuable improvements to education for our students and do it within a cost structure affordable to Vermont residents,” said Rep. David Sharpe, D- Bristol, who chairs the House Education Committee. The bill, which has been in the works since January and which follows a district merger bill that received House approval last session before dying in the Senate, calls for the merger of the state’s nearly 300 school districts into districts that provide Pre-K-12 education with at least 1,100 students by the year 2019. The bill would compel districts to conduct studies on the feasibility of merging with their neighbors — or any other district — and present merger plans to voters for approval by 2017. Continue Reading →

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