After an informational meeting on Tuesday, the Washington West executive committee will meet on Wednesday to tackle the question of whether the district should pursue a course of accelerated merging of area schools.

On Tuesday, September 8, at 6 p.m. in the Harwood Union High School auditorium, the local school boards of the Washington West Supervisory Union (WWSU) will have a first presentation on Act 46, or H.361. This is the new legislation that requires merger/consolidation of school districts by July 1, 2019.

The following evening, Wednesday, September 9, the WWSU executive committee will debrief the presentation, set a working schedule (additional meetings), change the bylaws to expand the membership for this work to include an additional representative from each school board and begin serious work on the primary guiding questions: Should the WWSU go for the accelerated merger option? Why or why not?

The executive committee of the WWSU board decided to take a break over the summer and then move full throttle into the work immediately in late August and throughout the fall. The Tuesday presentation will include an overview of the law, some cost models for Washington West based on what the board knows to date, and a Q & A. Nicole Mace, attorney and executive director of the Vermont School Boards Association, and Brad James, an accountant/finance officer for the Agency of Education, will present with Michelle Baker, WWSU CFO, and Brigid Scheffert-Nease, superintendent.

This event will be widely publicized and board members are encouraging all community members, faculty and media to join the boards and administration as they work to fully understand the law.

A number of resources to study can be found on the Vermont Agency of Education and websites. This is a very important time to serve with serious decisions – financial, governance and programmatic – to be made on behalf of many student generations to come and taxpayers at large.