Woodford School Board prepares to separate town, school treasurer


WOODFORD -- The Woodford School Board continues to make preparations to request the separation of the positions of town and school treasurer, which have traditionally been held by the same person.

School board member Avis Bruce-Hurley presented the results of her discussion with the town’s Select Board at the school board’s special meeting on Monday. Chairman Ryan Thurber and clerk Susan Wright had both expressed concern that separating the positions could require a change to the town charter, which would in turn require a lengthy and costly process. Bruce-Hurley examined the town charter, however, and found that there were no references to the school treasurer.

"There is absolutely no mention of the school treasurer," she said, "As far as I can tell, it is entirely the school’s province to make this decision."

Southwest Vermont Supervisory Union CFO Rick Pembroke agreed with Bruce-Hurley’s interpretation of the law. The board hopes to approve an official warning of the policy change at their August meeting.

The board also approved its district-to-district tuition rate for FY15. Pembroke recommended that the board set the rate at slightly above the school’s spending per equalized pupil, which for FY15 is $10,214. The board unanimously agreed to set the rate at $10,500.

Historically, the majority of out-of-district students to attend Woodford have been from Searsburg, and the board expects this trend to continue. One student from Searsburg spent the last 50 days of this school year at Woodford, and that student’s family has renewed their request for next year. According to principal Sandra Foster, a second family from Searsburg has also requested that their child attend Woodford. The board approved both of these applications. Typically the student’s home district would pay the entire tuition amount as a lump sum before the start of the school year, but the board gave Pembroke the authority to negotiate a payment schedule on their behalf, if necessary.

"At this point, we want to encourage the tuition students, especially from Searsburg, which is probably going to be our biggest pool going forward," said Bruce-Hurley.

Foster also asked the board to approve the creation of a part-time kindergarten teacher for next year. Next year’s kindergarten class is currently expected to be seven children, the largest in recent memory. Foster said this would have been necessary without taking the two out-of-district students into account. The board agreed to create the position, and will vote on Foster’s nominations at the August board meeting.

The meeting also would have been retiring superintendent Catherine McClure’s final meeting in that role, as her term expired at the end of the day on Monday. However, she was caught up in other work and was unable to attend. McClure asked Foster to pass along her regards to the board saying, "It has been lovely to work with everyone."

Derek Carson can be reached for comment at dcarson@benningtonbanner.com. Follow him on Twitter @DerekCarsonBB


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