PUTTING CHILDREN FIRST

In the 2014 session the General Assembly once again tried to eliminate local school districts as a way to save money, even though most Vermonters detest that idea.  Instead, the VoteKISS education bill reduces the number of SUPERVISORY UNIONS, consolidating them around the existing tech centers and governed by a board made up of sending school board members.  This bill also suggests an audacious idea: an eight day school week with students attending all year, half of each week.
  1. Retain and strengthen local control while reducing administrative costs. Eliminate the 61 supervisory unions and create 15 regional education districts (ED) centered on existing Career and Technical Education Centers and governed by representatives from all sending schools’ boards.
  2. Retain and support talented teachers and administrators.  The Secretary of Education shall appoint a commission comprised of parents, human resource managers from an array of Vermont businesses and admissions managers from Vermont’s higher education institutions (none affiliated with the K-12 system).  This commission shall assess the strengths and weaknesses of the K-12 system and report recommendations for changes to the Legislature.
  3. Retain the spirit of the Brigham Decision while streamlining the school funding mechanism and returning to local cost control.  Educational Districts (EDs), working with local school districts, will recommend both the school budget and an associated education property tax rate on the equalized education grand list for each ED.  Towns send the majority of their education property tax dollars to their ED rather than to Montpelier.  The State shall use its funds to equalize per pupil spending of EDs rather than individual towns.  It shall also use a separate funding mechanism for income sensitivity payments.
  4. Significantly reduce educational spending by requiring all school districts to switch to an eight day school week by XX DATE. Half the student body attends school the first 4 days; the other half attends the second 4 days, all year long.  This change cuts school facility and equipment needs in half while allowing education to proceed without lengthy interruptions.