Act 46 Update

Dear Students, Parents, Guardians, and Staff:

As the summer moves along, the supervisory union board is continuing to present the newly enacted ACT 46 (fondly called the Consolidation Law) to the public in all four towns.  The supervisory union board decided on June 3, 2015 to tentatively pursue an accelerated merger. In order to accelerate the merger and take advantage of the significant incentives, all four towns have to warn an article for public vote by July 1, 2016. The SU board set up two public forums in all four towns in order to inform the public and gather valuable feedback.  This week we are half-way done with those forums. So far, over 100 community members have attended. During the forum, we outline the basic principles contained in the law and we present four options for merger that seem consistent with the intent of the law.  At the end of the forum we ask three simple questions.  Here are the results to date:
 
As I leave this forum, my understanding of Act 46 can best be described as one of the following:
Much better understanding - 62.9%
About the same - 32.4%
More confused - 4.8%
 
If I had to pick a merger option right now:
Option #1 - Do nothing - 6.6%
Option #2 - Regional HS (no choice) - 23.6%
Option #3 - PK-12 District, 7-12 Open Choice - 20.8%
Option #4 - PK-12 District, 9-12 Open Choice - 49.1%
 
Including Articles of Agreement on the Warning that protects local control of school choice and local control for closing any schools will have what affect on my likelihood to vote for a merger:
More likely - 63%
About the same - 25.9%
Less likely - 11.1%
 
So far it appears that the predominant option is for a PK-12 merged school district that would operate schools at all levels; including Windsor High School. But, within that PK-12 merged district would be Open Choice for all high school students. This is very similar to what happens in Hartland and Weathersfield right now.  It would be VERY different for Windsor.  They have always operated a high school and never allowed choice. So far, the Windsor residents that have been at the forum feel confident enough about their high school that they are willing to accept choice.
 
Under this model, every member of the merged boards would take some ownership for Windsor High School. One would like to think that this ownership will eventually lead to more and more attendance by high school students in the newly merged district. 
 
We will finish the forums in late August and bring the final results to the SU board, many of whom have attended he community forums.  We hope to agree on one of the four proposals.  If the agreement is for Options 2, 3, or 4, then an accelerated incentives worksheet/application will be presented to the State Board.  If the State Board approves it, we could then bring a warning to each town to take advantage of the early merger incentives.  Remember, we cannot merge without a vote of each town in the first year of the law and submitting a proposal to the board does NOT mean we are going to merge.  It is a necessary step before any warning is presented. 
 
You can find more info at http://act46.wsesu.net (Frequently Asked Questions, Community Forums Dates, etc.) and if you missed a community forum that you wanted to attend we have recordings of ALL community forums to-date at http://act46videos.wsesu.net
 
Enjoy the summer and come out and join us at our next forums.  The dates are as follows:
 
Weathersfield - August 10
Hartland - August 11
Hartland - August 17
West Windsor - August 26

David W. Baker
Superintendent

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