ARLINGTON -- After a group of seven Arlington Middle/High School faculty and Battenkill Valley Supervisory Union members testified before the Vermont State Board of Education in Barre Tuesday morning, it was announced Tuesday night that BVSU would not be consolidating with the Bennington-Rutland Supervisory Union to its north or the Southwest Vermont Supervisory Union to its south.
The final decision came after months of deliberation between the state and BVSU, during which time Vermont Board of Education members sought solutions for decreased education spending statewide.
However, according to BVSU chairwoman Maureen Harvey, the state was unable to articulate clear financial or educational reasons for a supervisory union consolidation. This means BVSU is safe from change, at least for the foreseeable future.
Harvey said the state communicated that it plans on re-thinking its criteria for consolidation in the future and that they will be examining the entire education network over the next year, not solely BVSU.
"I don’t see anything changing soon," said Harvey. "It will most likely be years."
Harvey explained that community support for BVSU’s continuity has been constant over the past few months.
Prior to appearing before Vermont Board of Education members, a non-binding town meeting was held to discuss consolidation.
"All but one person said we should remain the same," Harvey said of the meeting. "People were very passionate. They believe we’re doing a good job with our schools."
Arlington Memorial High School Principal Christopher Barnes was pleased with the outcome of Tuesday’s hearing.
"The BVSU school community worked hard to keep the consolidation from occurring and we are happy to have succeeded," said Barnes. "The administration, faculty, staff, and community are resolute in maintaining high standards and I expect that we will continue to do so in the future."
BVSU Superintendent Karen Gallese was equally as pleased with Tuesday’s announcement, noting that the issue of consolidation had been discussed even before she began serving for the board.
"I think this is what the people of Arlington clearly wanted," she said. "They’re proud of their school, their great kids, great teachers and I think they deserve to just be left alone."
It was also discussed during Tuesday’s BVSU and Arlington School Board meeting that the board would be accepting letters of interest from individuals interested in filling Todd Wilkins’ recently-vacated seat.
The board voted to begin advertising locally immediately.
"If more than one person shows interest, we will hold a special election," Harvey said.
According to Harvey, if this proves to be the case, the special election would be held seven to eight weeks from next Wednesday, August 28.
Contact Elizabeth Conkey at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @bethconkey.