Press Releases/Email Newsletters

Merger Delays, Broadband and Cell Phone Coverage, Early Childhood Education, and More ...

http://campaign.r20.constantcontact.com/render?m=1102316631663&ca=4bd7b2dc-0bf0-4af6-9ee9-dc5816002574

 

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

8:00 – 9:00AM: Cabinet Meeting; Wolcott Town Office; 28 Railroad Street, Wolcott 

Who: Governor Scott, Cabinet and Extended Cabinet

 

9:30 – 10:15AM: Discussion/Celebration of Vermont’s Woodstove Change-Out Program; Hearthstone Quality Home Heating Products; 317 Stafford Ave., Morristown 

Who: Governor Scott; Agency of Natural Resources Secretary Julie Moore; Department of Public Service Commissioner June Tierney.

 

10:30 – 11:45AM: Roundtable Discussion; Rock Art Brewery, 632 Laporte road, Morrisville

  • Regulation of short-term rental operation
  • Current Use topics such as current practices, legislative changes, and agricultural exemptions
  • Questions and concerns related to taxes, an open forum.

Who: Governor Scott (will kick it off and depart at 10:45 AM), Tax Commissioner Kaj Samsom and Tax Economist and Director of Policy Douglas Farnham; Director of Property Valuation and Review, Jill Remick; Commissioner of Tourism and Marketing, Wendy Knight; and Commissioner of Forest, Parks and Recreation Michael Snyder.

 

11:00 – 12:00PM: Tour of the Lamoille Family Center; 480 Cady’s Fall Road, Morrisville 

Who: Governor Scott; Agency of Human Services Secretary Al Gobeille

 

12:15 – 1:15 PM: Lunch & Workforce Roundtable Discussion with the Lamoille Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors; River Arts, 74 Pleasant Street, Morrisville 

Who: Governor Scott; Department of Labor Commissioner Lindsay Kurrle; Agency of Administration Secretary Susanne Young

 

1:30 – 2:00 PM: Visit Wildlife Crossing project by the Fish and Wildlife Department, VTrans and The Nature Conservancy; North Wolcott Road where it meets Route 15 (there is a pull off)

This effort, part of an already planned road project, will allow better wildlife crossing in this area, allow connectivity for wildlife passage in a critical part of the state, and decrease the risk of wildlife/car accidents.

 

2:30 – 3:30 PM: Tourism Industry Roundtable; Stoweflake Resort and Spa, 1746 Mountain Road, Stowe 

Who: Governor Scott; Department of Tourism and Marketing Commissioner Wendy Knight; Department of Economic Development Commissioner Joan Goldstein

November 13, 2018

 

The Honorable Krista Huling, Chair, State Board of Education

Members, State Board of Education

219 North Main Street, Suite 402

Barre, Vermont 05641

 

Dear Chair Huling and Members of the Vermont State Board of Education,

We are writing today in regard to the Act 46 Alternative Governance Structure application submitted to you by Elmore-Morristown Unified Union and Stowe School Districts.  We were exceptionally disappointed to learn about your provisional vote at the October 29, 2018 State Board Meeting, rejecting the recommendation by the Vermont Secretary of Education to approve our joint AGS Application, and instead requiring the merger of our school districts.

As the representatives for Elmore, Morristown, and Stowe, we respectfully ask that you reverse that decision and accept the Secretary’s recommendation to approve our Section 9 proposal.

In fact, as is made clear in the Proposed Statewide Plan submitted in June 2018 by the Vermont Secretary of Education, we respectfully ask that the Board evaluate the governance proposal “not only on its own merits, but also on the impact it may have on the students, the districts, the region, and the State.”  When you do that, we believe you will find the proposal worthy of your support, just as the Secretary did.

In reviewing the State Board meeting and minutes, we are not confident that the Board fully understood the AGS proposal, the reasons behind it, and the precise details of how it is the “Best Means” for meeting the goals of Act 46. While the merger might be possible and practicable under the law – the provision on which the State Board seemed to focus – a merger is simply not the “Best Means” for meeting the goals of Act 46 in our region.

As you are well aware, our local School Boards and the Lamoille South Supervisory Union (LSSU) believe very strongly in the educational goals of Act 46. Both Elmore-Morristown Unified Union (EMUU) and Stowe School District (SSD):

  • Provide substantial equity in the quality and variety of educational opportunities,
  • Lead students to achieve or exceed the State’s Education Quality Standards,
  • Maximize operational efficiencies through increased flexibility to manage, share, and transfer resources,
  • Promote transparency and accountability, and
  • Deliver it as a cost that parents, voters, and taxpayers value.

1)     To be clear, each of our districts meets – and even exceeds these goals – and will only continue to do so if allowed to continue operating as two Side-By-Side Pre-K-12 Operating Districts assigned to the Lamoille South Supervisory Union. 

a.     From the June 2018 Proposed Statewide Plan Submitted by the Vermont Secretary of Education:

Act 46 acknowledges that there are regions of the State where it may be necessary for the statewide plan to “include alternative governance structures …, such as a supervisory union with member districts or a unified union school district with a smaller average daily membership.”

Nevertheless, the Legislature limits the State Board’s authority to include SUs with multiple member districts in the statewide plan by declaring that the “State Board shall approve the creation, expansion, or continuation of a supervisory union only if the Board concludes that this alternative structure:

“(1) is the best means of meeting the [five Act 46 Goals of opportunity, equity, and efficiency] in a particular region; and

“(2) ensures transparency and accountability for the member districts and the public at large …”

b.     There is absolutely no doubt that our proposed Alternative Structure is the “Best Means” for meeting the goals of Act 46, and ensuring transparency and accountability for the districts and the public at large.

2) In addition, the recent merger of Elmore and Morristown should not be dismissed by the State Board as something unimportant or irrelevant.  In fact, it was an incredibly challenging process, but one the districts did voluntarily because we are committed to a sustainable school governance model.  Furthermore, make no mistake, the transition process is still underway even now.

a.     As was also made clear in the Secretary’s Proposed Statewide Plan:

What makes this discussion both unique and difficult is the nature and creation of the EMUU District itself. The study and vote leading to creation of the EMUU occurred after the enactment of Act 46.

The new unified district, however, did not meet eligibility requirements for tax rate reductions or other transitional assistance under any of the voluntary merger programs created by Acts 153, 156, 46, or 49 because – in a nutshell – its combined ADM was less than 900 (776 in FY 2018) and it did not result from the unification of four or more districts.

In other areas of the state, newly merged districts with smaller ADM numbers qualified for tax rate reductions because they resulted from the merger of four or more districts.

In addition, some unified districts formed by two districts with a combined ADM of less than 900 were eligible because they were able to partner with an additional two or more merging districts with a different operating/tuitioning structure under the “Side-by-Side” program enacted in Act 153. Because it was ineligible for any of the voluntary merger programs, the EMUU did not receive tax rate reductions for the first four or five years of operation, was not awarded grant funds to assist with its transition to a unified structure, did not have its small school grants transformed into perpetual merger support grants, and is not exempt from State Board-required merger under its statewide plan.

Unlike what occurred in other areas of the State, the ineligibility for tax rate reductions and other assistance did not inhibit the study committee from developing the proposal or the voters from approving creation of the EMUU because they saw the opportunities for both their students and their taxpayers inherent in the larger, more flexible structure.

This does not mean that creation of the EMUU and its first years of operation have been easy. Assuming full responsibility for the education of the unified district’s children on July 1, 2016, the EMUU Board is still engaged in the work necessary to help its communities work and think of themselves as a single entity. The process is a slow one, and the details of merging two autonomous structures into a single unit is time-consuming and complex. As a result, the EMUU Board requests that it be given the time to adjust to the governance changes which it voluntarily embraced – and that the district continue to work towards greater collaborative efforts with the Stowe District – before the EMUU considers assuming the additional challenge of further merger.

Although this is a difficult decision, and although the State Board will not have the ability to require the districts to merge after November 30 of this year, the Secretary believes that this entirely unique situation presents evidence sufficient to override the presumption that a unified Proposed Statewide Plan; Act 46, Sec. 10(a) (Revised: June 1, 2018) Page 149 of 189 district that is its own single-district SU is the structure most likely to meet or exceed the educational and fiscal goals of Act 46 in a sustainable manner.

Finally, it has also become clear that the tax implications of a forced merger fly in the face of the goals of Act 46, in that the taxes in Morristown and Elmore would increase, while the taxes in Stowe would decrease.  Couple that increase with the fact that neither Elmore nor Morristown benefited from any tax reductions in their voluntary merger, and nobody can argue that this is fair. In addition, with significant capital needs in the immediate future in the Stowe School District, the unfairness of burdening the taxpayers of Morristown and Elmore with those additional costs is magnified.

The approval of our Section 9 proposal is of critical importance to our shared communities and students. 

We implore you to take the advice of the professionals in the Agency of Education who have spent the better part of two years working on the Statewide Plan – studying all of the documentation, meeting with stakeholders, and truly understanding our AGS proposal and why it is the “Best Means” for meeting the goals of Act 46. 

Once again, we ask that you reverse your provisional decision of October 29th, and accept the recommendation of the Secretary of Education to approve the Alternative Governance Structure Application jointly submitted by the EMUU and Stowe School Districts.

If you do choose to ultimately reject the recommendation of the Secretary, we will expect, on behalf of our constituents, a full explanation of the reasons behind that rejection.

 

Very Sincerely,

 

Rep. Heidi E. Scheuermann

Rep. David Yacovone

Rep. Gary Nolan (Outgoing Rep.)

Rep. Avram Patt (Incoming Rep.)

Sen. Rich Westman

 

cc: The Honorable Philip Scott, Vermont Governor

     Daniel French, Vermont Secretary of Education

It was a packed house on July 25th at the Scheuermann for House Campaign Kick-Off.

 

"Thank you to all who turned out to kick-off my campaign for re-election to the Vermont House," said Scheuermann.  "Your incredible support and encouragement is both humbling and inspiring."

People from throughout Stowe - parents and students, small business owners and employees, educators, and seniors - gathered to show their support for the campaign, and listened enthusiastically as Scheuermann outlined some of her work throughout the years, and the very important reasons she would like to continue as Stowe's State Representative.

"Heidi is the epitome of what makes Stowe a great community," said Leslie Anderson.  "Not only does she give tireless of her time and effort to make this a better place for all of us, but her work in the legislature has been instrumental in moving our community forward."

"Danielle and I were honored to co-host the kick-off," added Rich Marron.  "I know how difficult the work is in Montpelier, and Heidi has tackled it admirably through the years.  She has listened tot he thoughts and concerns of our community and has been successful in ensuring that voice is heard and represented in the House.  It is critical that that kind of representation continue."

From Scheuermann’s Speech:

"I still enjoy this job very much, and believe that I provide the experienced, thoughtful, independent voice that Stowe expects, and frankly, deserves, in the Vermont House.

Especially at this time - as we are starting to turn the ship of state around with sustainable spending, lower taxes, and a growing economy - we need to ensure our voice is one that works diligently to continue down that road; and does so by reaching across the aisle to advance sound policies.

On that, my record is clear.

Working with people form across the political spectrum, I have been the leading voice for education funding reform, property tax relief, and local control of education.

My quest for ethics reform and the creation of an independent ethics commission was a lonely one for a long time, but I persisted and we were finally successful last year with great tri-partisan support.

With Democrats, Independents, and Republicans from tourist destinations across the state, I have successfully fought, year after year, for additional investments in tourism and marketing - investments that are so important to our community.

And, for four years, former Democratic Representative Paul Ralston, and I led the effort to make some of the most important changes and investments in years in economic development efforts.  Included among those were: the elimination of the cloud tax, the creation of a first-time homebuyer down payment assistance program; the creation of both an entrepreneurial lending program and a domestic export program to help our manufacturers to to the regional and national markets; and increasing the licensed lender limit from $75,000 to $250,000.

Finally, I was proud to have guided through the legislature this year a bill to modify our beer franchise laws that will allow our craft brewers - a now thriving sector of our state's economy - greater opportunity to get their products to market.  And, I successfully fought against legislation that would have had a dramatic impact on our outdoor recreation industry by opening up the door to a much wider array of legal claims and significant increases in liability insurance.

While I am proud of these accomplishments, there remains a great deal more to do.

The problem of our state's affordability is one we cannot tax our way out of.  More taxation isn't the answer to our aging workforce, nor is it the answer to the slow erosion of our communities through the emigration of our young people.

The solution to these problems requires continued economic growth and the creation of decent opportunities for people to live, work, and raise families.  we must do everything in our power to convince Stowe's, and Vermont's entrepreneurs and business owners that their ideas will be encouraged to succeed rather than challenged to survive.

So, as we look toward our future and see what work remains, it is absolutley critical that Stowe has an experienced, independent, thoughtful voice in Montpelier that is both willing and able work across the political spectrum to advance good, sound public policy, but also one willing to take on the special interests and fight against bad policy.

I believe I am still that person." 

-- 30 --

 

On June 1, 2018, Scheuermann was pleased to report that the Secretary of the Agency of Education is recommending that the EMUU-Stowe School Districts NOT be merged in the Statewide Education Plan!! See pages 146-149 of this report.

“Accordingly, because the Secretary believes that it is not practicable to require merger at this time because it would not advance the goals of Act 46, the Secretary does not propose that the State Board merge the Elmore-Morristown Unified District and the Stowe District in the statewide plan.”

This is great news for our region!! Great work Cara Zimmerman, Stephanie Craig, and the other members of the Boards and Supervisory Union. Now we just want to be sure the State Board agrees with the Secretary’s recommendation.

Secretary of Education Act 46 Recommendations

 

Heidi Scheuermann (R-Stowe) announced today that she will run for re-election to the Vermont House of Representatives.

“It has been my distinct honor and privilege to serve the people of Stowe in the Vermont House for the past twelve years,” said Scheuermann.  “Fighting for education funding reform and property tax relief, responsible state spending, policies that encourage private sector economic growth and jobs, ethics legislation, responsible environmental stewardship, and health care reform that works for Vermonters have all been at the center of my efforts.  And, I have worked diligently throughout the years, with people from across the political spectrum, to achieve success in each critical policy area.”

“While it has certainly been a challenge through those years, I am pleased that the leadership of Governor Phil Scott last year allowed us, for the first time in known history, to pass a state budget without relying on any new or increased taxes or fees – all while ensuring we protect our most vulnerable friends and neighbors and invest where needed in efforts like housing, and tourism and economic development marketing.  And, while there are some disagreements at this time over the coming Fiscal Year budget, I am confident we are on the verge of doing it now for a second time.”

Despite many legislative achievements over the years, Scheuermann pointed to the challenges that continue to face the community of Stowe and the State of Vermont.

“We must continue to fight for responsible, sustainable state spending, and policies that encourage and reward private investment and economic growth.  The one-size-fits-all, big warehouse approach to education has allowed Montpelier to take control of almost every aspect of our children’s education – a growing trend I have fought throughout my time there.  And, far too many times, I find myself fighting against policies that will do real damage to our region’s and state’s small businesses, and the employees and families that depend upon them.”

“Just this past year alone, among other problematic items that advanced, an increase in the minimum wage to $15.00 per hour, the creation of a brand new, government-run, paid family leave program paid for by a payroll tax on every employee in the state, and a law that would have a drastic impact on non-profits and private entities throughout the state that offer outdoor recreation activities all progressed through and passed the General Assembly.  Thankfully, Governor Scott vetoed each of these, as he understood well the detrimental effect they would have on our relatively fragile economy.”

“As I considered whether or not to run for another term, these challenges were forefront in my mind.  In my view, and the view of most Stoweites I know, it is absolutely critical that we have a voice in Montpelier that is both willing and able to work across the political spectrum to advance good, sound public policy, but also one willing to take on the special interests and fight against bad public policy.  On that, my record is clear.”

“For those reasons, I am seeking another term in the Vermont House of Representatives and I ask for your continued support.”