On June 7, all Valley towns, or Washington West Supervisory Union (WWSU) districts, will vote for an accelerated version of Act 46. The law intends to consolidate school governance and budgets across the state in order to create financial savings and equity of education.
Ballots will include a vote to elect representatives from each district who will serve on a single, unified school board. Voters will select representatives in their towns, as is normally done.
This newly merged board, named the Harwood Unified School District by the Act 46 study committee, will consist of two representatives from Waitsfield, Warren, Fayston, Moretown and Duxbury. Waterbury will have four representatives. These numbers are based on population.
Candidates in each district have submitted petitions with signatures from either 1 percent of the population or 30 residents. All seats, except one in Warren, are unopposed. Moretown and Waterbury each have one vacant seat.
In Warren, Valerie Bigelow and Rosemarie White are both running for a two-year term. White is currently a member of the Harwood Union High School (HUHS) board and the Act 46 study committee.
Alycia Biondo, a current member of the Warren School Board and the Act 46 study committee, will run for the second Warren seat – a three-year term.
In Waitsfield, current Waitsfield School Board member and Act 46 study committee vice chair Christine Sullivan is running for a four-year term. Former Waitsfield School Board member Rob Williams is also running unopposed for a three-year term.
In Fayston, current Fayston School Board members Heidi Spear and Jill Ellis are running for two- and three-year terms, respectively. Ellis is also a member of the Act 46 study committee.
In Moretown, current Moretown School Board member and Act 46 study committee chair Gabe Gilman is running for a four-year seat. The second seat, a two-year term, is currently vacant.
Waterbury also has one vacant seat. Current Waterbury board member and Act 46 study committee member Alex Thomsen will run for a two-year term. Resident Jim Casey will run for a three-year term and resident Maureen McCracken will run for a four-year term.
In Duxbury, current HUHS board member and Act 46 study committee member Garrett McCurtain will run for a four-year term and current Waterbury-Duxbury board member Sam Jackson will run for a three-year term.
In the case that vacant seats in Moretown and Waterbury remain unfilled for the June 7 vote, Sullivan said that there could be an option to write in a candidate or the current district board may appoint individuals. She said that a protocol has not been established since the law is new.
At the polls, voters will see a two-sided ballot. The front will contain language from a constitution – articles of agreement – created by the Act 46 study committee, which would govern the newly merged board. The back of the ballot will ask voters to select their choices for school board candidates.
Absentee ballots were available beginning Tuesday, May 17.