After it was brought to the Harwood Unified Union School District (HUUSD) Board’s attention in October that the individual weight in town voting was skewed, the board took action to remedy it last week.
Former board member Peter Langella, at the board’s October 10 meeting, said that population data from the 2010 census used by the Act 46 study committee to create the voting methodology incorrectly calculated Waterbury and Waitsfield’s population.
Population numbers used by the Act 46 study committee added Irasville population numbers to Waitsfield’s totals and added Waterbury Village totals to Waterbury’s total population.
Voting weight for each of the towns in the district depends on their population. Under the current calculation, Duxbury and Fayston are weighted at 9.2 percent (4.6 per board member), Moretown is weighted at 11.2 percent (5.6 per board member), Waitsfield at 12.8 percent (6.4 per board member), and Warren at 11.6 percent (5.8 per board member) Waterbury is weighted at 46 percent (11.5 per board member). All towns have two board members, except Waterbury which has four members.
Under the old calculation, Waterbury and Duxbury had 55.2 percent of the weighted vote, while The Valley towns had 44.8 percent of the weighted vote. Under the new calculation Waterbury and Duxbury have 49.9 percent of the vote, while The Valley towns have 50.1 percent of the weight.
The board took action after consulting their lawyer, Pietro Lynn, who researched the matter and made the correct adjustments to the population totals. The newly allotted weights of the board representatives came into effect at their October 24 meeting when the board voted on items on the agenda.
Board chair Christine Sullivan addressed the board and community members present before public comment, notifying them that the matter had been solved. The cure for the past voting was a motion to accept all voting outcomes from June 2017 until the last board meeting, and to move from here on out with the new weighted totals.
Sullivan stated that the board physically could not go back and calculate every motion and vote due to not recording the roll call for each vote. Sullivan said that the board could not rescind some decisions that have already gone into effect – such as the last budget.