"Vilaseca noted he has recently attended several supervisory union board meetings to discuss formation of Regional Education Districts (REDs) under Act 153 of 2010. The concept appears to be taking hold across the state and there are several ongoing conversations about better outcomes for students and efficiencies. There are several implementation challenges as well that will need to be addressed. Morse asked what role the Board has in participating in these conversations. There will be some ability to provide input during the legislative agenda development process."
"General Counsel Mark Oettinger explained that he has met with each department division director to gather a list of potential legislative agenda items. He anticipates the incoming legislature will be addressing Challenges for Change targets first to ensure school districts can be informed in their budget development process. The department would like the legislature to address some perceived gaps in Act 153 to best help districts. Issues such as losing school choice are an impediment to the development of Regional Education Districts (REDs)."
In addition, the new DOE Strategic Plan that is under development indicates that they would like to see DISTRICTS with a minimum of 1500 students. Keep in mind that VT law only allows you to choose your school, including approved independent schools, if there are no schools available in your districts. Large districts would effectively eliminate this option.
Rep. Peter Peltz, a member of the House Education Committee had this to say in a piece he wrote for VTDigger, leaving no doubt that school choice is once again in danger:
"The final issue relates to the over 30 SU’s [note from SCV - it is the DISTRICT that offers choice, NOT the SU] that offer choice or designation for school students. Currently a RED must offer the same enrollment options for all its students at a given grade level. A district may petition the state board to reassign it to a new SU, but this path complicates the RED formation process. Choice districts can choose to be aligned with other choice districts, or the State Board could assign them to a SU or RED at a later date. [Note from SCV: under current law the DOE can only assign to an SU, they cannot assign to a RED] Early indications are that choice districts are uneasy about committing to the RED plan. The legislature can address this concern, or any other, at the beginning of the next session with the technical corrections bill. "
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