Ludlow re-vote reaffirms merger with Mount Holly, BRHS will close by 2020

The Booster Club, along with parents, students, and community members, set up a table of flowers and snacks in the teachers’ lounge on the day of the re-vote to show support for the Black River Presidents. Photo provided.

LUDLOW, Vt. – Voters in Ludlow returned to the polls on Tuesday, Feb. 6 to cast their ballots on a re-vote for the proposed merger between Ludlow and Mount Holly district that protects Ludlow and Mount Holly Elementary Schools, gives school choice to students from grades 7 through 12, and closes Black River High School by June of 2020.

The re-vote resulted in 288 “yes” votes and 231 “no” votes, confirming the merger.

The re-vote was the result of a petition that was filed in Dec. 27, 2017 that included 127 signatures asking for a re-vote, citing confusion from voters about what their vote meant.

A letter of support and gratitude to the staff of Black River High School. Photo provided

The original vote on Nov. 28, 2017, garnered 344 “yes” votes and 172 “no” votes. The number of ballots cast for both elections was approximately the same with 516 votes cast in November and 519 cast in February. Although the “no” votes gained some ground, it was not enough to overturn the original decision, which would have required a 2/3 majority and a minimum of 230 votes.

The creation of the district will now move forward organizing the Ludlow-Mount Holly Unified Union School District. The new structure of the LMHUUSD board includes four representatives from Ludlow – Chris Garvey, Dan Buckley, Mariel Meringolo, and Paul Orzechowski – and four representatives from Mount Holly – Katie Hollebeek, Mary Alberty, Brigid Faenza, and Kelly Tarbell. Board members were voted in during the Nov. 28, 2017 election and now can begin the process of organizing, with a deadline to operate the district by July 1, 2018. In addition to developing and approving a budget, which is typically a lengthy process, the board must also review and approve all policies and procedures. The LMHUUSD district continues to fall under the Two Rivers Supervisory Union.

The next LMHUUSD board meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, March 7 at 6 p.m.

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