On May 17, Warren voters passed a $2.55 million bond to renovate and update the school. Or, that is to say, 14.35 percent of Warren’s voters passed the bond. Warren has 1,400 registered voters, 201 of whom took the time to vote on this important bond. The vote was 161 yes and 40 no.
That is spectacularly poor voter turnout and does nothing to indicate the overwhelming support for the school that pro-Warren School independence people will need to make their case.
It also doesn’t send any particularly strong message about what support there is in Warren for merging with the other Valley towns to form one K-12 school district. Act 46 incentivizes towns to merge early on their own terms and with tax breaks; and if they don’t – it forces them to merge.
It doesn’t make much of a statement in terms of the bond indebtedness being shared throughout the Washington West Supervisory Union via Act 46 either.
It’s a kind of voter apathy that makes one wonder what will happen when Warren voters head to the polls next month to vote on the proposal to merge all our local school districts. Will we see similar apathy mirrored throughout the supervisory union? Will we see our fate decided by a handful of voters?
Consider the fact that 161 voters in Warren just committed all 1,400 people in the town to a $2.55 million bond – if Warren voters opt out of merging via Act 46. If Warren voters vote to merge, then 161 people just committed every single person in Waterbury, Duxbury, Moretown, Fayston and Waitsfield to join them in shouldering that debt.
And, if so many people are so outraged about education costs and their impact on tax rates, how is it that so few people turned out to vote against the bond?
However our towns vote on Act 46, it is a significant and important step for our community and the future of our schools and our tax rates. It would be a disgrace if the voter turnout for the June vote on merging is as low as this week’s vote in Warren.