On June 7, all towns, or Washington West Supervisory Union (WWSU) districts, will vote for an accelerated version of Act 46. Act 46 calls for consolidating school governance and budgets across the state in order to create financial savings and equity of education.
Taxpayers can receive up to five years of tax incentives if all six Valley towns vote to consolidate by 2017. Towns that do not voluntarily merged will be merged by the Vermont Agency of Education.
If a majority of towns (four) vote yes for the accelerated merger, taxpayers in those towns can receive up to four years of tax incentives. This would be known as a “modified union,” and both Waterbury and Duxbury must vote yes for either of them to be included.
If the merger vote passes, the combined district will be governed by a new union board known as the Harwood Unified Union School District, comprised of two representatives from Warren, Waitsfield, Fayston, Moretown and Duxbury, with four representatives from Waterbury. (See story below on candidates running for those seats.)
A yes vote will create one budget for all Valley schools from pre-K through high school and socialize the debt from each of the existing school districts.
Voters will see a two-sided ballot. The front will contain language from a constitution – or articles of agreement – created by the Act 46 study committee, which would govern the newly merged board.
Article 1 addresses the formation of the unified board (named the Harwood Unified Union School District) and says that the report created by the Act 46 committee will govern the new board. The articles of agreement are part of that report. The ballot will ask if voters are in favor or opposed to the accelerated merger.
Article 2 says that two school board members will be elected to the newly merged board. In Waterbury, it would be four, based on population.
The back of the ballot will ask voters to select their choices for school board candidates.
Polling locations by each town are as follows: Duxbury, Crossett Brook Middle School; Fayston, town clerk’s office; Moretown, town clerk’s office; Waitsfield, Waitsfield Elementary School; Warren, Warren Elementary School; Waterbury, Waterbury town clerk’s office, Municipal Complex. Polls are open for Australian ballot voting from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.