Addison Towns Approve Unified Union

03/03/10 12:04PM By Melody Bodette

VPR Photo/ M. Bodette

(Host) A new unified union school district was formed in Addison County at town meeting yesterday.

The five towns of the Addison Northwest Supervisory Union school district all agreed to the merger.

The three elementary schools and one high school in the district will now be governed by a single school board, instead of the eight boards that currently exist.

Addison Northwest Superintendent Tom O'Brien says he's pleased the measure passed:

(O'Brien) "I think this has been a long time coming for this district.  We've worked hard at it for the past five or six years. I think this year the board worked strongly on going to voters, to the communities and having the conversation and I think that made the difference."

(Host) The proposal will only save the district about $40,000.

But officials say it will reduce the per-pupil spending rate, and that could lower taxes for some towns. The merger will also allow for shared services and programs across the district.

O'Brien says those changes will benefit students:

(O'Brien) "That we'll be able to maintain our school programs for a greater length of time than we would have if we hadn't formed a unified union, given what the state is looking at in terms of trimming education costs."

(Host) Voters in the five towns also elected people to serve on the newly formed 12-member board. The current school boards will dissolve in July 2011 and be replaced by the expanded board.

The towns in the district are Vergennes, Addison, Panton, Waltham, and Ferrisburgh.

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