A vote Tuesday, Feb. 26, will set up the operating rules for a merged school district combining the Elmore-Morristown and Stowe districts.
The Vermont State Board of Education decided late last year to force the Stowe and Elmore-Morristown districts to merge.
Neither district wants to merge, and they’re fighting the merger in the courts and in the Legislature. But if they lose, they need a plan for operating the brand-new district starting July 1 of this year.
That’s what Tuesday’s vote is for.
The vote will set up how the school board will decide how and whether to close schools, if that becomes an issue; which students would go to which schools; and the composition of the school board.
Residents of Stowe, Elmore and Morristown will vote Tuesday at their town’s normal polling places; polls will be open between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m. Early voting is also an option for people, with ballots available at all three towns’ municipal offices.
“This is not a question of supporting the merger or not,” said Tracy Wrend, the school superintendent. “The vote on the articles of agreement is to make key decisions, within the limits prescribed, for how we govern if the forced merger becomes operational.
“A group of local individuals proposed amendments that they think are in the best interest of Elmore, Morristown and Stowe. If people vote in favor of the proposed amendments, they are supporting the recommendations of the local committee on governance in a merged district. If people vote opposed, the default articles, framed by the state board, will govern our initial operations.”