Summer Study Committee on Public Schools “Going Independent” Meets Aug. 21

Section 16 of Act 56 of 2013 (H.521) requires this that a study committee look at the opportunities and challenges created by closing a public school with the intention of reopening it as an approved independent school that serves essentially the same population of students and receives publicly funded tuition dollars.

This study committee was a compromise position adopted after a strong push by many legislators to place a ban on public schools “going independent.” The chairman of this committee, Secretary of Education Armando Vilaseca, said at a State Board of Education Meeting that, “I am philosophically against [public schools going independent]. … It goes counter to everything I believe in. … I hope that our Legislature… will take a look at what occurred in your community and to not allow a public school to close and an independent school … open in its place.”

The committee will hold its second meeting on Wednesday, August 21, 9:00 am to 11:00 am in the Vermont Agency of Education’s conference room, 5th Floor, 120 State Street, Montpelier.

Committee Members:

1) Armando Vilaseca, Secretary, Agency of Education

2) Susan Kimmerly, co-chair of the Council on Independent Schools

3) Mill Moore, Executive Director of the Vermont Independent Schools Association

4) Seth Bongartz, Board Chair, Burr & Burton Academy

5) Fran Bisselle, Headmaster, Maple Street School

6) Dale Urie, Teacher and Department Chair, St. Johnsbury Academy

7) Jeff Francis, Executive Director, Vermont Superintendents Association

8) Steve Dale, Executive Director, Vermont School Boards Association

9) Ken Page, Executive Director, Vermont Principals’ Association

10) Joel Cook, Executive Director, VT-National Education Association

11) Erin Maguire, Executive Director, Vermont Council of Special Education

12) Stephen Morse, Chairman, Vermont State Board of Education

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