Letter: Vote Yes for School Merger on November 7

I urge everyone to vote FOR the proposed Act 46 merger into one unified school district on November 7. The merger plan contains a number of important safe guards that may not be part of a state-enforced merger plan if this vote fails. Below is a partial list of these safe guards that may be important for Pownal residents:

1. For five years, students will not be moved from Pownal Elementary School to another school without approval by the voters living in Pownal.

2. Existing Pownal Elementary School reserve funds do not need to be transferred to the unified district until June 2019. These reserve funds can be used for the Pownal School during fiscal year 2018-19. Non-school assets, such as the ball field in North Pownal can be transferred to the town.

3. If the Pownal School should be closed (for example in 25 years), the school building will be sold to the town for $1 to be used for community and public purposes.

4. The merger will help to hold down real estate tax rates in an era of uncertain state funding. There will not be an opportunity for a second vote to obtain tax rate incentives.

After serving on the Pownal School Board, the SVSU Board, and numerous SVSU committees for more than ten years in the past, I can confirm that the current system with multiple elementary boards is cumbersome and inefficient. I am convinced that it is better to merge now under the proposed plan than to be forced to merge two years later under a state-mandated plan. Vote Yes!!

Gudrun Hutchins



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