2-12-14 – Senate Ed Gives Independent Schools a Stay of Execution

At least one  paper is reporting that Vermont’s Independent Schools “dodged a bullet” when the Senate Education Committee decided to shelve S.91, a bill that would require publicly funded independent schools to adopt many (or all) of the policies now followed by government-run public schools. But, they didn’t dodge the bullet so much as the committee simply decided not to pull the trigger. Yet.

Sen Ed

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As committee chairman Dick McCormack (D-Windsor) said, “We’ve gotten a good deal of support for the notion that there’s a problem with deflecting public school dollars to private schools. The entire education establishment seems to agree that that’s a problem…. I am preparing a memo to Secretary [of Education] Holcomb with a series of questions that I would like  their legal staff to look at so that we are on more solid footing if we go forward.”

So, the bullet has not been fired, but the gun is still pointed with the hammer cocked and the finger on the trigger.

In the mean time, the committee is considering putting a moratorium on “any more North Benningtons” — towns voting to close their public schools, becoming choice towns, and opening independent schools to serve the local population. Sen. Don Collins (D-Franklin), who is also a member of the State Board of Education, asks Bill Mathis, a member of the State Board of Education, to testify that the Board would support a moratorium.

Mathis replied, “You would be correct in assuming that we would like to see that.”

In 2013, Collins put forward an amendment to the Misc. Tax Bill that would have implemented a moratorium. It failed 12-14. Three Progressive senators were absent that day.

– Rob Roper, president of the Ethan Allen Institute 


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The Ethan Allen Institute is Vermont’s free-market public policy research and education organization. Founded in 1993, we are one of fifty-plus similar but independent state-level, public policy organizations around the country which exchange ideas and information through the State Policy Network.

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