H.170 and S.44 are bills that have been introduced in legislative Education Committees. These bills would limit funding to Independent Schools. Bill overviews are here.
The Current Situation:
The Senate Education Committee has not scheduled continued testimony for S.44. This could indicate that the testimony they have heard so far has provided them with enough information to decide that they are not interested in pursuing the goals of the bill. Both the President and the Executive Director of the Vermont Independent Schools Association have provided testimony which has informed committee members of the current legal structure under which Independent Schools operate in Vermont, and how they serve student populations.
This week the House Education Committee took brief testimony from Rep. Anne Mook who introduced her bill, H.170. It will be at least a week before the committee decides if they would like to further discuss the bill. At this time we are not taking collective action, however we learned in the committee room that some representatives have already heard from you, their concerned constituents.
What the Future Holds:
It is going to take some time for the folks on the House Education Committee to get up to speed on the statutes they would be changing with this bill and the populations they would be affecting. Ultimately they will have to determine if this bill actually solves any problems without creating unintended consequences. We will take action as a group, at the appropriate time, if it looks like this legislation is going to move forward in committee.
Special Needs Students:
Many of you responded to my request for stories about your child who has an IEP or 504 plan, and the role an Independent School has played in their education. We are still looking for more parents who would be willing to share their experiences in either written or in-person testimony with the committee at an undetermined time in the future. If telling your child's story could help the committee understand the valuable role of Independent Schools and families who have chosen those schools to meet a child's special needs, please contact me, Angelique Lee - firstname.lastname@example.org