All was quiet on the education front this year. Until Oct. 29, that is.

That’s when the Vermont State Board of Education sent a tremor through the southeastern corner of Lamoille County by announcing it was going to force a merger between the Stowe and Elmore-Morristown school districts.

School district consolidation has been the goal of Act 46 since its passage in 2015. Elmore and Morristown were among the earliest towns to voluntarily merge into one school district, even as they and sister district Stowe made an argument that Stowe should remain a standalone district.

The interim Vermont Secretary of Education agreed with that assessment last June, so it came as a surprise when the state board overruled that recommendation.

Hundreds of people in Stowe, Morristown and Elmore protested the decision, and even the state board teetered on the edge of reconsidering its mandate before ultimately voting in favor of the forced merger.

In the waning weeks of 2018, the Elmore-Morristown and Stowe school districts filed a lawsuit alleging the state board’s actions violated Vermont’s Constitution (see more on Page 7). In the meantime, the clock is ticking down to July 1, when the merger takes effect.

— Tommy Gardner

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