Throughout the two months we have been in session this year, I have been focusing much of my attention on the implementation of, and time-frame within, Act 46 – the school district consolidation bill that was passed in 2015.

While I did not support the bill, and, in fact, fought vigorously against its passage, Act 46 is now law, and we must deal with it.  Unfortunately, many school districts are really struggling in this regard right now.

Make no mistake, communities throughout Vermont are working diligently to comply with the law in a way that works for their communities and students, but dozens are having significant issues doing so.

As this relates to Stowe and the educational opportunities we offer our students, we must be sure that any rules written to govern the creation and approval of Alternative Structures under Act 46, are conducive to our goal of being approved as an Alternative Structure.

As I’ve stated many times, the first draft of Proposed Rule 3400 was simply unworkable – not only for Stowe, but for virtually any community in the state that is looking for approval of an Alternative Structure.  I have been very vocal on this point, and, in fact, submitted Public Comment to the Agency of Education and the State Board of Education expressing my concerns.

Last Wednesday, the new draft of Proposed Rule 3400 was released and presented to the State Board of Education, and I am pleased to report that my Public Comment made an impact on the new draft presented, as the Agency of Education outlined in a Draft Response that was also released.

That said, while this new draft is an improvement over the original draft, there are still some significant issues with it, and there remains a great deal of work to do.

So, as we move forward, I want to first thank Richard Bland and Leigh and John Pelletier for their input and insight into the original Proposed Rule 3400 specifically, and the quest ofr an Alternative Structure in general.  Their knowledge about the specifics, and their interest in getting involved in how Alternative Structures will be approved, has been enormously helpful to me throughout these last four months.  It is only with this kind of interest and input that we will be able to make a difference.