A year after Huntington residents nixed a plan to merge their school district, the school board there has decided residents should reconsider.
The reason: Act 46, the state’s new school district consolidation law.
“We decided we perhaps should bring it to voters and give it another go-around. I don’t know how the town would vote,” said Megs Keir, a Huntington school board member.
The board voted 4-1 Tuesday night to put together plans for Huntington to vote on Town Meeting Day in March on whether to join the new Mount Mansfield Modified Union School District. Those plans would first need the Vermont State Board of Education’s approval.
Huntington was the lone town within the Chittenden East Supervisory Union that refused to join with Jericho, Underhill, Richmond and Bolton last year to form the modified union district. That new four-town district started operating in July. One 15-member school board oversees eight schools that had previously operated separately.
Keir reluctantly agreed that Huntington should reconsider, though she is unsure how she would vote in March. She said she’ll be paying close attention to budget decisions the modified district makes in the meantime to determine how well the merger is working.
It was the hammer that Act 46 hangs over school districts that prompted Keir to say Huntington should vote again. Keir said the law’s requirement that all school districts consider consolidation or be forced to merge caught her attention.
“It feels inevitable. They will not let you remain independent,” Keir said, though she still worries that by merging, Huntington could lose local control over its Brewster Pierce Elementary School.