In the News

By Tommy Gardner, News and Citizen and Stowe Reporter

https://www.stowetoday.com/news_and_citizen/news/local_news/districts-challenge-merger-in-court/article_2a17d08c-046d-11e9-b83b-0f43f53c82ac.html

"The Elmore-Morristown and Stowe school districts are suing the Vermont State Board of Education over its order that the two districts merge into one.

The lawsuit argues that the state board’s decision to dissolve the existing school districts violates the Vermont Constitution. It seeks a stay, preventing the state board from enforcing its Nov. 30 decision to force Stowe and Elmore-Morristown to merge."

By Josh O'Gorman, Stowe Reporter

https://vtdigger.org/2018/12/16/scott-state-board-education-power-mergers/

State Rep. Heidi Scheuermann, R-Stowe, took some comfort in the governor’s candor.

“I am obviously pleased that the governor does not believe the state board should be able to dissolve school boards and school districts,” Scheuermann said.

However, she disagreed with Scott regarding where exactly that authority should lie.

“I think, in 2015, the Legislature showed a great degree of cowardice by delegating the responsibility and authority to dissolve school boards and school districts to the State Board of Education,” she said.

Scheuermann said she will introduce two bills in the upcoming legislative session. One would invalidate the merger plan approved by the state board; the other would require all mergers to receive the approval of voters within the districts.

By Lola Duffort, VTDigger.org Staff

https://vtdigger.org/2018/12/13/first-lawsuit-challenging-forced-act-46-mergers-filed/

"The lawsuit alleges the state board violated both the Vermont and U.S. constitutions and Act 46.

"The State Board failed to articulate the standard it used to evaluate the proposal and instead engaged in ad-hoc decision-making, therefore denying EMUU-Stowe due process of law," the school districts wrote in their complaints."

By Josh O'Gorman, Stowe Reporter Staff

https://www.stowetoday.com/news_and_citizen/news/local_news/governor-questions-authority-of-state-board-of-education/article_967a8864-fee6-11e8-aafa-973afc04a259.html

"State Rep. Heidi Scheuermann, R-Stowe, took some comfort in the governor’s candor.

“I am obviously pleased that the governor does not believe the state board should be able to dissolve school boards and school districts,” Scheuermann said.

However, she disagreed with Scott regarding where exactly that authority should lie.

“I think, in 2015, the Legislature showed a great degree of cowardice by delegating the responsibility and authority to dissolve school boards and school districts to the State Board of Education,” she said.

Scheuermann said she will introduce two bills in the upcoming legislative session. One would invalidate the merger plan approved by the state board; the other would require all mergers to receive the approval of voters within the districts."

News and Citizen / Stowe Reporter Editorial

December 6, 2018

https://www.stowetoday.com/news_and_citizen/opinion/editorials/a-decision-by-default-not-because-it-s-right/article_00d95f08-f967-11e8-a536-db9dc43f2d9c.html?fbclid=IwAR2j15G_0UlfOeLNLThBFrI0Wu7kIiOnstg9YKjZraMrULrVNHs9mbDEUCQ

The schools are well-run, efficient, effective and innovative. But the law says that if districts can merge easily, they ought to merge, or be forced to merge.

So, the state board made a decision by default, not because it’s right.

And that’s not right.

By Josh O'Gorman, Stowe Reporter Staff

https://www.stowetoday.com/news_and_citizen/news/local_news/school-merger-ordered-by-state/article_de207094-f35a-11e8-aaae-e30f524f2e7f.html?fbclid=IwAR2fHg0QsJ2IYVHaRHAaZFjzQgXktDVr90azCsUY5cNwafMl2UbcyD-1wgQ

Board member Oliver Olsen made the motion to allow Elmore-Morristown and Stowe to remain independent.

“Their current structure allows them to meet the goals of Act 46,” Olsen said. “Of all the proposals, I found this one to be the most compelling. They are working well together.”

Carroll said the board’s deliberations had been “dismissive” of alternative governance proposals, such as the one offered by Elmore-Morristown and Stowe; the proposals did not receive a fair hearing because they differed from the preferred structure described by the law.

“It’s like saying, ‘I don’t like cats because they’re not dogs,’” Carroll said.

By Lola Duffort, VTDigger.org Staff

https://vtdigger.org/2018/11/16/state-board-votes-merge-barre-schools/?fbclid=IwAR1-8s4oOcgYCQsNIH7Cx7bLa7bPklaDA5sHzF5pgGqXbDi_HPCe5gs7i1E

David Bickford, from the Elmore-Morristown board, told state officials that a forced merger between the two communities would cause people on the ground to “retreat” from the considerable – and voluntary – work already done to bring the two districts closer together. And Stowe school board member Jim Brochhausen read off a litany of data points to argue the two districts already had basically the same curriculum and substantial equity in both academic offerings and outcomes.

Their presentation almost convinced the state board, who revisited their decision later in the meeting at the prompting of student member Callahan Beck.

Carroll made a motion to reconsider the board’s earlier vote, saying that while he hadn’t agreed with the secretary’s reasoning in her proposed plan, a study of the districts’ joint alternative governance proposal had made him rethink his earlier decision.

“There’s pretty compelling evidence that the AGS proposal of these communities, and their track record of years and years of collaboration, shows that the AGS is highly responsive to the objectives of the act,” he said.

But the board split 4-4, with Huling then breaking the tie to vote against reconsideration.

By Josh O'Gorman, Stowe Reporter Staff

https://www.stowetoday.com/news_and_citizen/news/local_news/good-deeds-keep-things-rolling-along/article_a371d062-e2bd-11e8-b1ad-5f3759ac17a4.html

"Now in its 14th year, the event is the creation of Gov. Phil Scott; it fills a gap not being met by the state, said . Rep. Heidi Scheuermann, R-Stowe. 

“We didn’t have enough money for fuel assistance for low-income Vermonters,” said Scheuermann, as she volunteered at the Stowe Events Field on Weeks Hill Road, one of many tire drop-off locations around the state. “This is a creative way to help people with heating assistance and it allows people a safe, responsible way to recycle their tires.”

 

 

By Wendelyn Duquette

https://www.stowetoday.com/stowe_reporter/opinion/letters_to_the_editor/scheuermann-helps-balance-the-debate/article_60b7a1b6-d2f0-11e8-b3f2-4f406cfeb7c1.html

"I remain an independent voter, because my decision to vote for a candidate is based not just on the candidate’s qualifications, but also on how their presence will impact the overall discussions in the Legislature. I often vote to be sure that there is a political balance in Montpelier (or, in national elections, in Washington.)

As our legislatures gets more heavily weighted in one perspective or another, we lose the benefit of differing points of view, which are critical for developing strong, thoughtful public policy. With Democrats holding a very large majority in both the Vermont House and the Senate, it is critical that moderate, independent voices like Heidi’s remain in place to ensure that balances discussions influence our legislative outcomes.

Heidi has been a thoughtful, effective legislator carefully researching the merits of her positions and she works hard for our community. As an independent Vermonter, I want to be sure that some semblance of balance remains in Montpelier."

By Brenda Convery

https://www.stowetoday.com/stowe_reporter/opinion/letters_to_the_editor/scheuermann-keeps-a-focus-on-the-positive/article_8f213266-d2ef-11e8-a4e6-278285052117.html

"I appreciate knowing where you stand on the issues facing us here, where you stand on the issues of education, health care and tax policy. And, I appreciate knowing what you have done on our behalf through the years and how you plan to serve us going forward.

As our political discourse nationally has been debased by vile, hateful rhetoric, it is refreshing to have somebody focus on a positive message about the future of Stowe and Vermont."