State OKs Mt. Holly-Ludlow merger, moves toward Nov. vote

By Shawn Cunningham
© 2017 Telegraph Publishing LLC

Having been approved by the State Board of Education on Oct. 18, the latest proposal that would merge the Mt. Holly and Ludlow school districts moves forward to a Nov. 28 vote, but there’s plenty going on in the meantime.

If passed, the merger would create the Ludlow-Mt. Holly Unified Union School District combining the three districts that operate the schools in those towns now. And while each town would continue to operate its elementary school, Black River High School would have to close by July 2020. After that date, the new district would pay tuition for students in Grades 7 to 12 to attend other schools including Mill River in Clarendon and Green Mountain Union in Chester.

According to Two Rivers Superintendent Meg Powden, the new district would need time to transition from operating a middle and high school to providing tuition. “We need time to think about it and to do it well,” said Powden noting that doing it in 2018 would be “too fast.”

The 18-month reprieve for Black River provides time for a community group to apply to the state of Vermont to become an independent school which would be able to accept tuitioned students.

The Black River Independent School group is meeting every Tuesday until the merger vote. Meetings are held at the Ludlow Community Center from 6 to 8 p.m.

Informational meetings on the merger will be held:

  • Thursday, Oct. 26, 6 p.m. at Ludlow Elementary School, 45 Main St.
  • Tuesday, Nov. 7, 6 p.m. at the Mount Holly School, 150 School St.
  • Thursday, Nov. 16, 6 p.m. at Ludlow Elementary School, 45 Main St.
  • Tuesday, Nov. 21, 6 p.m. at the Mount Holly School, 150 School St.

Voting will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 28 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Ludlow Town Hall, 37 Depot St., and at the Mt. Holly Town Office, 50 School St.

Here are the documents regarding the merger and the vote:

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