SVSU establishes new, informal Act 46 study committee

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BENNINGTON >> The Southwest Vermont Supervisory Board on Wednesday voted to form a new, informal Act 46 study committee, after the formal committee voted to disband last month.

SVSU Chairman Nelson Brownell recommended setting up the committee with two members, one from the school board and one community member, from each district, plus the two representing the SVSU as a whole. If every district chooses to appoint representatives to the committee, it will have 14 members. The informal committee will not have the ability to draft official articles of agreement on a merger, but it will be able to study various scenarios, and make recommendations to the district boards.

"What I want to do, if the board agrees with me, is start an informal advisory committee," said Brownell, "The last time it was formal, there were several rules they needed to go by. People can get together and do their discussion on their options and so forth, and then move into a formal discussion committee after that. With this one, we're not locking ourselves into any one solution, we're really gathering information, and hopefully this advisory committee will be able to work some solutions out."

Bennington representative Ken Swierad objected to Bennington having the same number of representatives as the other boards. "If I remember (on the formal committee), Bennington had three representatives and three citizens. Can we maintain that number?"

"I'm recommending that we don't do that at this time," said Brownell, who represents Pownal on the MAU board, "When we have the formal committee, we're going to have to look at that."

The SVSU board voted George Sleeman, from Bennington, as their representative from the committee, and Brownell gave Sleeman and Swierad the authority to invite one of the community members who had previously represented Bennington to act as the SVSU's community representative. Swierad recommended Donald Campbell, who serves on the Bennington Select Board

Pownal board chairman and MAU representative Cindy Brownell informed the board that Jim O'Connor and Laurie Lingner would continue to represent Pownal on the committee. Fran Kinney of Shaftsbury said that, unless they objected, Jeff Leake and Jessica Smith would continue to represent Shaftsbury as well.

Ray Mullineaux of North Bennington was present at the meeting, but did not comment if his district would participate in the new committee. The formal committee disbanded, in part, so as to allow North Bennington to seek other partners.

The first meeting of this new committee is tentatively scheduled for Tuesday Oct. 18.

The Southwest Vermont Supervisory Union board meets the fourth Wednesday of every month at 7 p.m. in the Mount Anthony Union Middle School library. Full recordings of their meetings are available on Catamount Access Television, and on the station's YouTube page.

Contact Derek Carson at 802-447-7567, ext. 122.


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