By Shawn Cunningham
© 2017 Telegraph Publishing LLC
The town school boards and town clerks of Andover, Baltimore, Cavendish and Chester met at Green Mountain Union High School on Monday, March 27, to lay out and agree to the process for holding votes on forming a Regional Education District to fulfill their obligations under the Act 46 school merger law.
The votes in the four towns will be held on Tuesday, May 2. The polling times must be uniform, so it was agreed to hold the vote from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. in all the towns. Absentee ballots will be available by April 12 and early voting begins at the same time.
The terms of the merger are contained in an Act 46 Study Report that was reviewed by the Agency of Education and approved by the Vermont Board of Education.
Each town school board has also scheduled its own informational meeting for voters to ask questions and get information before going to the polls. Those meetings will be:
- Baltimore: 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 12 at the Baltimore Town Office
- Cavendish: 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 25 at Cavendish Elementary School
- Andover: 10 a.m. Saturday, April 29 at the Andover Town Hall
- Chester: 6 p.m. Monday, May 1 at Chester Town Hall
In addition to deciding whether or not to form a unified school district, the voters of each town will be electing the school board for the new district. If the proposal passes, the current boards will continue to govern the existing schools while the new board plans the transition to a single district, which would occur on July 1, 2018.
If the RED vote passes, the newly created Green Mountain Unified School District would consist of Cavendish Elementary, Chester-Andover Elementary and Green Mountain High School. If the vote fails in Baltimore, the merger would still go forward, but if any of the other towns votes against the plan, the process of creating a merger under Act 46 would continue.
About the Author: Shawn Cunningham has written a number of subjects -- from food and wine to film, history, politics, zoning and development -- for the Baltimore Sun, the Washington Post, Museum News, The Westsider, The Chelsea/Clinton News, Menckeniana, Films in Review and the East Village Eye.