As we get deeper and deeper into our daily routine in the schools, I thought it was important to bring information directly to faculty and staff about the Act 46 conversations which are occurring around the future of RNESU.
Act 46 is the Vermont law that requires all districts to explore their governance structure and determine if there is opportunity to merge into the lowest number of operating units.
In RNESU we have 8 towns, 11 boards, and 44 board members. Six of those towns are members of the Otter Valley Union district; two of those towns offer high school choice and are not part of the OV district. This means the lowest number of operating units that RNESU has is 3: an OV district, a Barstow district and the resulting SU to oversee both, if that is where we land. Yes, it is possible under the law to have a Side by Side model of a high school district and a choice district under a single SU.
RNESU has developed a 28 member study committee to begin to explore our options. That committee consists of at least one board member from each town and a total of 18 members representing all towns, with both board and community representation. The committee met for the first time on Sept 15 at Otter Valley. With the help of a facilitator, the committee reviewed the educational quality standards along with the charge of the committee.
The committee will meet again on Sept 29, then again on Oct 6. As of the Oct 6 date, they will move to 1st and 3rd Tuesdays of each month through Dec. The timeline for the work of this committee is set up to culminate in a vote in the spring of 2016, though that timeline may be extended if needed. All Act 46 committee meetings are open to the public.
Community engagement in the study is crucial and forums will be scheduled for late fall/early winter. A web page at www.rnesu.org has been set up to capture all meeting agendas and minutes, presentations, and provide resources and background for the public to review.
I will provide you with updates after each committee meeting and will also send you common FAQs so you can help explain what is happening to others. Questions, suggestions and comments may be made through public comment at each meeting, through community forums when scheduled, and through the app, Let’s Talk, found on each school’s web page.