This from Wednesday's email:
Legislative delay tactics are being used - here's why...
H.66 (The Senate Voluntary Merger Bill) Update: A friend of School Choice Vermont was in the Senate Appropriations Committee today during broad ranging discussion of both H.782 and H.66. It appears there is an issue with the way the incentives are funded which may affect the viability of that portion of the bill(s). Senator Susan Bartlett appears to be working on a Plan B.
S.297 (The Miscellaneous Education Bill) Update: Almost every year there is a "Misc. Ed Bill". Miscellaneous bills are to correct technical issues with language and tweak established statute. Part of the ground this year's bill revisits is Section 827, which covers designating an independent or public high school as the sole school of a district. Towns like Wells, Rupert, Pawlet, (which designate NY schools) Burke and other communities (which designate Lyndon Institute), and Thetford (which designates Thetford Academy) are really the only districts currently affected by this law.
Patti Komline, Rep. from Dorset proposed a change in the language of the statute that wouldallow parents who are dissatisfied with the designated school, to inform their school boards by April 15th that they are sending their child elsewhere, and the tuition will follow the child. Currently the school board entertains petitions to attend other schools and in some communities never grants them. This amendment shifts control of a child's education from the school board to the parent.
Shockingly, House Ed, a committee that has many members who have come out strongly against parent directed school choice over the course of the session, fell in favor of the amendment 6-5 in a straw vote, which usually accompanies an amendment when presented to the House.
Up until this time the House Ed Committee had been ushering S.297 along in a timely way. Since this amendment's approval it would appear delaying tactics are being implemented - they must have realized their "mistake". The bill has been delayed for its final reading and vote, THREE times. It wouldn't surprise us to hear that another straw vote has been somehow arranged and come out against the amendment, or that the bill is allowed to die. Either of these would be preferable to another School Choice debate on the house floor, this time over a parent directed school choice amendment that was voted upon favorably by the House Ed Committee.