Scott Keeps Rebecca Holcombe as Education Secretary | Off Message

Scott Keeps Rebecca Holcombe as Education Secretary

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Education Secretary Rebecca Holcombe talking to the Senate Education Committee as Sen. Chris Bray (D-Addison) looks on. - FILE: TERRI HALLENBECK
  • File: Terri Hallenbeck
  • Education Secretary Rebecca Holcombe talking to the Senate Education Committee as Sen. Chris Bray (D-Addison) looks on.
Gov. Phil Scott has chosen Rebecca Holcombe to stay on as his education secretary.

Holcombe, who was appointed by former governor Peter Shumlin, has led the agency since January 2014. She has company as a Shumlin holdover; Republicans have been critical of Scott for keeping a number of his Democratic predecessor’s appointees.

Holcombe’s appointment completes Scott’s cabinet. The governor selects an education secretary from three candidates submitted to him by the State Board of Education, which makes for a slower process. The state doesn’t disclose the unsuccessful applicants’ names.

So far during her tenure, Holcombe has overseen the ongoing school district mergers prompted by Act 46. Her new boss is proposing drastic and controversial changes to the state’s education funding system. His proposal — much of which has already been rejected by the legislature — would require school districts to level-fund their budgets and reallocate money from K-12 education to prekindergarten and higher education.

In a statement, Scott said, “During her tenure as a Secretary, Rebecca has shown a fierce commitment to improving Vermont’s education system with a focus on outcomes and the experience of our kids.”

Holcombe, who could not immediately be reached for comment, said in a statement, “It is a privilege and an honor to serve the Scott administration as we work to support his goals of affordability, growing the economy and protecting the vulnerable.” She added that strong, high-quality education is “essential to that effort.”


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