LSSU E-Newsletter December 20, 2018

A Message From Superintendent Tracy Wrend

Last week the LSSU, EMUU and SSD Boards filed a lawsuit against the State Board of Education. The lawsuit challenges the Board’s decision to reject the recommendation of the local communities and the Secretary of Education and to force a merger under Act 46. We don’t expect to hear any updates regarding this suit until January and will keep you apprised of any information we receive.

Additionally, the LSSU Board has decided to pursue a potential legislative solution regarding the forced merger. SSD Board member, Leigh Pelletier, is leading a fundraising effort to allow LSSU to hire a full-time public affairs firm, Leonine Public Affairs, to help lead this effort.

While we pursue a legal appeal and legislative solution, we will move forward to develop a plan that will be implemented in the event that the legal process does not end favorably for LSSU and the districts are merged. This is a complex process and we need to be prepared. The Stowe and EMUU Boards will initiate a discussion involving board structure, budgets and ownership of property – similar to the process that EMUU underwent when Elmore and Morristown were merged. There will be a Transitional Board in place to assist with the early part of the process. An organizational meeting is scheduled for Monday, January 14, 2019, at 6:00pm in the Auditorium at Peoples Academy. The organizational meeting is the first meeting of the electorate of the newly created Lamoille South Unified Union School District. Please attend this important meeting if you can.

We are also keeping a close eye on student learning in each and every school in LSSU, and I am excited about what we see!  For example, at Stowe Elementary School all teachers are stating learning objectives in every content area using “I can…” statements and student-friendly language. As a result, we are noticing that students are much better able to articulate, with specifics and clarity, what they are learning at any given time. Parents, family and friends can join us to support student engagement by asking students what they are learning.  I’ll highlight exciting work at other schools across LSSU in future editions. 

I hope you all have a wonderful winter break!

Best,
Tracy

 

EMUU Board Brief
December 18, 2018

Our meeting began with a discussion of next steps for the EMUU-Stowe merger, including the formation of a committee that will be meeting in the near future to address three specific articles of agreement:  board structure, restructuring grade configurations and protections preventing school closure. If community members have feedback they would like considered please contact a school board member or the superintendent.

As we juggle the requirements of the merger (our appeal is filed, but we still must move ahead as if we are merging), we have decided to leave the EMUU annual meeting date as is until we have better direction in regards to our legal action. The annual meeting date will be the Thursday before town meeting, February 28. Please pencil that in on your 2019 calendars.

We will be fine tuning the capital project plans as some elements were addressed last summer. Once we have the project updated we will have a better idea of scope and cost, and we will be prepared to move forward with plans to address our capital needs when questions about governance are resolved.  

As far a legal update on our appeal, we hope to hear something in the new year. We will keep everyone informed as information becomes available.

We wish everyone a happy and safe holiday.

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LSSU’s E-Newsletter, including Board Briefs, will be posted at https://www.lamoillesouthsu.org/blog.php the Thursday following each board meeting. You can read it there, or receive it directly by email by subscribing. More detailed information regarding Elmore-Morristown Unified Union School Board meetings can be found in our board minutes: https://www.morrisville.org/emuu-school-board.php

 

SSD Board Brief
December 17, 2018

The SSD Board continues to concurrently: 1. appeal the Vermont State Board of Education’s decision, 2. take steps required by law for a forced merger, and 3. make decisions centered around normal school operations.

  1. Appeal Forced Merger DecisionLitigation: Appeal and motions were filed December 12th, and we anticipate a decision on our motion to stay in January. Lobbying: The board appointed Leigh Pelletier as their Lobbying Designee to:  a.) work with private citizens to fundraise for this effort; and b.) enter into a contract with Leonine Public Affairs if the fundraising is determined to be viable.
  2. Meeting Forced Merger RequirementsTransition Board: Cara Zimmerman and Tiffany Donza will represent Stowe. The first meeting of the transition board will be on Monday, January 14th, at 6:00 pm at People’s Academy. Public attendance is critical since the public will vote from the floor on how they would like future voting to occur for LSUUSD board members, the education budget, and the articles of agreement. Articles of Agreement: Jim Brochhausen, Leigh Pelletier, and Stowe community member Nick Stevens will serve on the Articles of Agreement Committee. They will work to reach consensus with Elmore and Morristown committee members so that the terms best serve our communities.
  3. Normal School Operations—Academic: SMS Student Leaders presented the results of their student engagement survey. SHS students described their involvement with SHINE, Stowe High Internship Experience, developed by Roger Murphy, and the new opportunities this provides SHS students. Capital Projects: Black River Design will begin pre-bond work so that we have a more precise design and cost analysis. We will continue to explore how best to move forward with meeting the capital needs of our schools.

Subscribe
LSSU’s E-Newsletter, including Board Briefs will be posted at https://www.lamoillesouthsu.org/blog.php the Thursday following each board meeting. You can read it there, or receive it directly by email by subscribing. More detailed information regarding Stowe School District Board meetings can be found in our board minutes: https://www.stoweschoolsvt.com/ssd-school-board.php .

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