At its June 13 meeting, the Harwood Unified Union School District (HUUSD) Board will determine whether to take the possibility of a middle school merger off the table or whether to get community feedback on the option of including a merger in a bond to be voted on in November 2024. If the board votes to consider moving Harwood Union Middle School students (grades seven and eight) to Crossett Brook Middle School, that merger would not be a forgone conclusion but rather to be considered in community conversations as part of developing the bond plan. The superintendent and board have laid out an extensive process of obtaining community feedback on what to include in the bond it expects to put forth for public vote in November 2024.



This comes after a $59.5 million bond that included moving the Harwood Middle School students to Crossett Brook resoundingly failed in November 2021. The school board plans to bring a revised version of the bond to voters next year after getting community feedback throughout the coming year. The price tag of the bond has not yet been determined, as the scope will be guided by community feedback.

“[Vice chair] Kelley [Hackett], [superintendent] Mike [Leichliter], and I know how much work the high school needs,” board chair Kristen Rodgers wrote in an email. “That work cannot be accomplished through using the maintenance reserve fund for all of the various projects because there are not enough existing funds in that account. We also know there are various reasons the bond failed [in 2021] but one reason for sure was the presence in that bond the question of merging the middle schools. The board has heard for many years now “when is the high school going to be fixed?” Now is the time to focus our attention on the much-needed work at the high school with a bond. That is why board leadership is recommending maintaining the Harwood Campus as a  seven through 12 building and focusing the district’s efforts for community input to a more defined task.”

The board discussed the possibility of a middle school merger at its May 10 meeting. Most of those who spoke were against it and said that they’d heard from constituents in their towns that they did not want a merger, which would necessitate a new wing being added to Crossett Brook Middle School.


“I don’t think I would ever support a middle school merger,” HUUSD Board member Jonathan Young, Warren, said. He noted that the majority of Warren residents he’d heard from did not want the middle school moved further from the town.

“I personally don’t see any benefits” to the potential merger, JB Weir, Waitsfield, said.

“It was really beneficial for me to be in this building [Harwood] for two years,” prior to starting high school, said Naomi Myers, student representative to the board and a junior at Harwood, who advocated for keeping both middle schools.

The board will vote on June 13 to determine whether to consider a middle school merger as it begins community outreach on the bond to be voted on in 2024.

Also at the June 13 board meeting, HUUSD food service co-directors Erika Dolan and Paul Morris will discuss staffing and the possibility of continuing to prepare meals at Fayston Elementary School, as opposed to switching to the new Waitsfield Elementary kitchen currently under construction and scheduled to be completed by the start of the 2023-2024 school year. Currently, all meals for the two schools are prepared at Fayston Elementary School and earlier conversations with the board indicated that meal preparation for both schools would be switched to Waitsfield. There has been pushback from the Fayston community. Dolan and Morris will appear to discuss options at the June 13 meeting.