By Josh O'Gorman, News and Citizen and Stowe Reporter

The wheels of lawmaking might turn slowly, but the Elmore-Morristown and Stowe school districts are one step closer to receiving a delay in their forced merger.

House lawmakers gave overwhelming support last Thursday to a bill that would push out the deadline for some school districts — including Elmore-Morristown and Stowe — that the State Board of Education has ordered to merge.

Currently, Act 46 requires district mergers to take effect no later than July 1 of this year; however, on a vote of 134-10, lawmakers gave their approval to H.39, which would extend that deadline by one year for districts that never held a vote to merge.

The bill included an amendment developed by the House Education Committee; it’s a compromise to the bill introduced by Rep. Heidi Scheuermann, R-Stowe, that called for a blanket one-year extension on the merger timeline.

On Feb. 6, House lawmakers narrowly defeated Scheuermann’s proposal, 74-69.