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State Board Of Education Approves Four More Act 46 Plans

The State Board of Education approved four more Act 46 merger plans at its monthly meeting Tuesday.

Under the state's school district consolidation law, the State Board of Education must first approve merger plans before the proposals go before voters in each town for final approval.

The board approved two new districts out of the Rutland Central and Rutland Southwest supervisory unions, and a third plan in the Addison Rutland SU.

The board also approved a proposal to merge districts in Essex and Caledonia counties in the Northeast Kingdom.

Districts that are able to get their plans approved before July 1 receive extra tax incentives and towns are scrambling to get their plans approved by the board in time for Town Meeting Day votes.

With the four plans that were approved by the State Board Tuesday, nine merger plans will now be up for votes on Town Meeting Day.

Donna Russo-Savage is with the Agency of Education, and she said the school district consolidation law is jump starting discussions across the state on how to better educate Vermont's students.

"It's gone beyond what we expected," Russo-Savage said. "But what's really exciting is the analysis and the self-examination and conversations that are going on. I think this is happening in some places where it hasn't happened in a very long time."

While Act 46 has been controversial in some parts of the state, more than half the students in pre-K through grade 12 are now in districts that have already passed consolidation plans.

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