LONDONDERRY, Vt. – At their meeting at the Flood Brook School in Londonderry on November 14, the Act 46 Northshire Merger Study Committee unanimously voted that it was advisable for the towns of Londonderry, Weston, Landgrove, Peru, Manchester, Dorset, Danby, Mt Tabor and Sunderland to merge into a single district governed by one school board with a single budget and tax rate.
The committee was appointed by local school boards in the spring and has worked throughout the summer and fall to draft a merger plan. The new Taconic and Green School District would operate the current K-8 schools in Londonderry, Manchester and Dorset, and the elementary schools in Danby and Sunderland. Since none of the current districts operate a high school, all 9-12 students in the merged district would continue to have high school choice. The new district would remain in the Bennington-Rutland Supervisory Union.
The committee will now send its study report, which details the merger proposal, to the Agency of Education and State Board of Education in hopes that the state board will act on it at its December 20 meeting.
Chair of the 17-member committee Jon Wilson was pleased with the result of the advisability vote: “For a committee of this size, that represents a variety of communities, to vote unanimously is a testament to its confidence in our proposed merger. The committee has explored every imaginable benefit and implication of merging. While this has been an exhausting process, we have the peace of mind that it has been a fruitful one. With the help of the excellent Bennington Rutland Supervisory Union office and consultant, this committee has produced a proposed governance structure that we believe would lead to sustainable innovation in our school system for generations to come.”
The merger committee will not meet again until early January. In the meantime, some of its members will develop community engagement strategies in anticipation of educating residents on a vote likely to occur next Town Meeting day.
To this point, Vice-Chair Rich Grip said, “Now that we have determined merger is advisable and have justified our reasoning with our report, we will move into the next phase of our work which is educating the public on what precisely it is voting on.”