Summer Office Hours
8 am - 3 pm
Monday - Friday
Summer Wellness Center Hours
7 am - 3 pm
Monday - Friday
Fall JV/Varsity Sports begin on August 10th
Fall Sports Meeting on August 6th at 6 pm
Your input will be needed and valued as the School Boards of Ira, Middletown Springs, Poultney, Wells, and the Rutland Southwest Supervisory Union look at the recently passed Vermont Legislation called Act 46. The intent of the law is to create more learning opportunities for our students and at the same time providing more cost efficiencies.
Vermont’s student population has dropped from 103,000 students in 1997 to 78,300, yet there remains a static level of staff and an increase in student needs (emotional and nutritional). There is a general belief that given the 13 differing school district governance structures, there is a lack of flexibility to manage, share, and transfer resources. In order to increase flexibility and the sharing of resources, legislation over the past few years have moved a number of functions to the supervisory union (finance, busing, special education teachers and services).
Now the legislators have looked at school governance as a way to consolidate, create more opportunities for all students, increase flexibility, decreasing costs, and lower taxes by changing the governance structures. Currently, Rutland Southwest has four differing governance structures for our schools: Poultney School District is a PreK-12 district (all students attend Poultney Elementary, Poultney High School, and preschool in Poultney); Middletown Springs School District is a PreK-6 district with choice for 7-12 (all PreK and elementary students attend Middletown Springs Elementary School and parents have choice for 7-12 [any Vermont public high school or an approved independent school – currently 6 different schools]); Wells School District is a PreK-6 district, designation and choice to a dollar limit (all PreK – 6 students attend Wells Village School, while Granville High School in NY is the designated high school, parents may also send their students to a public or approved private school and the town will fund tuition to the school up to the state based education amount [parents are responsible for the remainder]); and Ira has choice PreK-12 (parents sending their children to 7 differing elementary schools and 5 secondary schools).
Act 46 requires all districts to look to create a single school district responsible for all resident students with one education structure (a PreK-12, a PreK-6 or 8 with secondary choice, or choice for all). As you can see, there are some huge challenges for our school districts. Most challenging of all is the fact that we only have 750 students in RSWSU and the new law requires 900 students for a new structure as shown above. If one of these structures is not feasible, then the districts can consider an alternative supervisory union structure where all the school districts consider themselves all responsible for the education of all students, maximizing economics, efficiencies, and is flexible. A challenge for RSWSU is that this model requires 1,100 students. Should either of these options occur by July 1 of 2017, the towns involved in a merger or other type of governance change, will receive tax incentives for 4 year. Districts not making changes by July 2019 will be reassigned by the Secretary of Education.
All of the school districts and the RSWSU have requested a $5,000 grant from the Agency of Education to hire a consultant to conduct a study of all possible options for each district and for the supervisory union. In addition, each of the Towns has $2,000 to use for the study. Two of the districts (Middletown Springs and Wells) have already worked with an independent consultant to create a prioritization matrix, so that they may use weighted factors when looking at the options presented by the consultant.
The School Boards are planning to hold community forums in the fall. The intent of these forums is twofold: an opportunity for the boards to provide the information that is known to their communities, as well as to inform the communities of what is unknown at this time. It is also an opportunity for the community members, teachers, and business leaders to provide input. These forums will be facilitated and will give each person the ability to share thoughts, ideas, and concerns regarding these very important issues. It is critical to get your input, since communities votes are required before any governance change can occur. The study results are expected to be completed in mid-November. At the same time as the study is occurring, meetings with superintendents and Boards from other supervisory union are happening to look at possibilities and to promote communications.
Should you have questions, please contact one of your Board members or feel free to call me. Our goal is to provide the best education for our students, while doing so in an economically prudent manner. We are all committed to serving our communities and therefore need you help through this challenging process.
Dr. Joan Paustian
Superintendent of Schools
Home of the Blue Devils
Principal -Joe DeBonis
Assistant- Principal Andi Wallach
Poultney High School is a public school that is small in size; big in spirit. We provide a private school environment at a public school cost for students in grades seven through twelve from Poultney and the surrounding communities of Wells and Middletown Springs.