School Board News - January 2023

Posted by Emily Blistein on 1/23/2023 10:00:00 AM

School Board News -- January 2023

From Victoria Jette

ACSD Board Chairperson

Happy New Year and welcome back! I hope everyone in the ACSD Community had a happy and healthy holiday season. The Board jumped right back into its work, focusing primarily on budget development for FY24. The ACSD continues to benefit from significant federal COVID relief money, which has enabled us to provide additional academic intervention and behavioral support in our schools the past two years. This funding will sunset in FY25, which will force the District to make difficult choices on which supports are critical and effective enough to be maintained through the District’s operational budget in the future.

The Board concluded its goal-setting for the District’s Strategic Plan for Equity in December, and is handing the baton to the Strategic Planning Action Team to translate Board Goals into actionable steps with measurable outcomes. The Action Team includes a diverse group of ACSD stakeholders, including students, parents, teachers, administrators, and community members. Together they will develop the details of the final Strategic Plan for Board approval in June 2023. Please continue to check here for ongoing opportunities to engage in the process.

As many of you know, Superintendent Peter Burrows has accepted the Superintendent position with Milton Public Schools in Milton, Massachusetts, and is anticipating transition to his new role in July 2023. While we will be sad to see him go, we are proud of the accomplishments ACSD has made under his leadership, and understand his desire to explore new challenges in a larger, more diverse setting. The Board acknowledges the significance of this upcoming change, and is committed to conducting a thorough Superintendent Search process to find a great fit for our District.

Many of you may have also heard about the recent petition the Board received from Save Our Schools, LLC regarding a change to Article 14 of ACSD’s Charter. This petition requested the Board to warn a vote, allowing voters to directly amend Article 14 by asking the electorate to either add a town vote or a district vote requirement to the existing supermajority Board approval needed to close any ACSD school. The Executive Committee sought legal counsel on the Board’s legal obligations concerning the SOS petition, which concluded that the Board was not legally required to accept the petition and warn a vote.

I know this is a confusing and emotional issue for our community, which is why so much time has been spent contemplating a Charter change. Ultimately, the State statute that governs amendments to articles of agreement  classifies ACSD’s Article 14 concerning school closure as a matter for the Board to decide, because it was not included in the originally warned articles for the District’s unification.  And the Vermont Supreme Court has already ruled in a prior case that a school board is not obligated to act upon a petition concerning a matter over which the voters have no authority. We were advised that a vote warned per the SOS petition would be for informational purposes only, and some members were concerned that it would not allow voters to express a preference to not amend Article 14.  

Still, the Board discussed the matter at length during its January 9, 2023 meeting, but ultimately decided not to accept the petition. Instead, as you will read below, the Board has charged the Ad Hoc Charter Research Committee with creating specific language for the Board to consider using to amend Article 14 itself.  The continued discussion and possible action to revise the Charter is scheduled for the February 13, 2023 Board meeting.

We said goodbye and thank you to our Board colleague, Peter Conlon, as he is resigning his position from the Board in order to fulfill his commitment to the Education Committee of the legislature. Peter has been an extraordinary member of the Board for the last 17 years and his deep knowledge of Vermont and its educational system will be missed. The Board announced his vacated seat at its meeting on January 9th. Anyone interested in filling the Cornwall seat until Town Meeting Day should send a letter of interest to the Board via and be prepared to join us at our meeting on 1/23 for Q and A. Whomever is appointed may then run for a 1 year seat to be voted on Town Meeting Day.  

Highlights of
Board and Committee work since the October 2022 Board Update include the following:

  • The Ad Hoc Charter Research Committee presented its findings to the Board regarding how other school districts in Vermont have addressed school closure in their Articles of Agreement. The Board discussed amending Article 14 during its November 14, 2022 Board meeting but members did not feel prepared to vote at that time. In the wake of its decision regarding the Save Our Schools petition, the Board has charged the Ad Hoc Charter Research Committee with crafting language for two possible ways for the Board to consider amending Article 14 itself, including: 

    • Adding a town vote in addition to the supermajority approval of the Board currently required to authorize any school closure; or 

    • Adding a District-wide vote in addition to the supermajority approval of the Board required to close a school. 

The Ad Hoc Research Committee will present its suggested motions to the Board at the February 13, 2023 Board meeting.

  • In early December 2022, the Communications and Engagement Committee hosted two Community Conversations on the District’s Strategic Plan for Equity. During the conversations, the Communications and Engagement Committee presented the strategic planning process completed so far, shared the Board’s strategic planning goals, and invited questions and feedback. A recording of the December 7th virtual conversation is available here, and links to the Community Conversation Slide Show and Feedback Form can be found here. Feedback from the conversations will be compiled and given to both the Board and Strategic Planning Action Team for consideration in ongoing Strategic Planning work.    

  • The Facilities Committee presented an updated summary of District-wide facilities needs at the November 28, 2022 Board meeting, based upon both the facilities assessments conducted by Truex Cullins in Spring 2022 and the Board’s prior Educational and Facilities Planning Report, Board members agreed that the District’s facilities needs are significant enough to warrant a bond for capital improvement projects, and charged the Facilities Committee with formally initiating that process. Over the next months, the Facilities Committee will identify and research consultants to assist with the bond process and help the Board define the scope of work for priority capital improvements. 

  • Through the work of the Policy and Governance Committee, the Board has adopted and/or amended the following Vermont School Board Association (VSBA) recommended policies and policy updates: 

    • Policy A-6, Board Member Conflict of Interest

    • Policy A-21, Public Participation at Board Meetings

    • Policy B-5, Prevention of Employee Harassment 

    • Policy C-6, Participation of Home Study Students

    • Policy C-7, Student Attendance

    • Policy C-8, Pupil Privacy Rights

    • Policy D-6, Class Size

    • Policy F-2, Policy on Nondiscriminatory Mascots and School Branding

    • Policy E-1, Title 1, Part A Parent and Family Engagement Policy, approval date pending 1/17/22. 

The Policy Committee's work aligns closely with the policies vetted by the Vermont State School Board. Most are determined by state Statutes or Federal Laws.  ACSD Policies are ideally reviewed and amended on a three year cycle. New policies are determined by state requirements or at the direction of the ACSD School Board. The complete list of ACSD Policies and Procedures can be found here


  • The Finance Committee has been working closely with ACSD’s Director of Finance & Operations Matt Corrente to develop the budget for the ‘23-’24 academic year. The draft FY24 Budget Book can be found in Board meeting materials here. Details of the proposed budget will be presented at the ACSD’s Annual Meeting on February 28, 2023.  

  • With the help of the Negotiations Committee, the Board has authorized pay increases for both paraprofessional educators and custodial staff to help address vacancies in these positions within the District. The Negotiations Committee is also working with the Addison Central Educators Association to establish parameters around a paid sabbatical leave benefit in the master contract. The results of this work will require final Board approval, but will clarify the process by which ACSD educators may utilize this benefit.

As always, we welcome community input and participation. Currently scheduled meetings are listed below – but please check our
Board and Committee Meetings page frequently, as new Committee meeting dates are continuously added to the calendar.




Victoria Jette, Chairperson, ACSD Board


Upcoming Meetings

Board and Committee meeting dates, locations, materials, and virtual links can be found on the
ACSD Calendar.

January 17, 2023 5:30 - 8:00 p.m. ACSD Board Meeting – 208 Charles Ave.

January 18, 2023 12:00 - 1:00 p.m. Facilities Committee Meeting

January 18, 2023 4:00 - 5:30 p.m. Policy & Governance Committee Meeting

January 23, 2023 4:30 - 5:30 p.m. Ad Hoc Committee Meeting

January 23, 2022 5:30 - 8:00 p.m. ACSD Board Meeting – Middlebury Union High School

February 9, 2023 9:00 - 10:00 a.m. Communications & Engagement Committee Meeting

February 13, 2023 5:30 - 8:00 p.m. ACSD Board Meeting – Middlebury Union Middle School

February 15, 2023 4:00 - 5:30 p.m. Policy & Governance Committee Meeting

February 28, 2023 6:00 - 7:00 p.m. ACSD Board Meeting – Middlebury Union High School

February 28, 2023 7:00 - 8:00 p.m. ACSD Annual Meeting – Middlebury Union High School

March 13, 2023 5:30 - 8:00 p.m. ACSD Board Meeting – Ripton Elementary School

March 27, 2023 5:30 - 8:00 p.m. ACSD Board Meeting – 208 Charles Ave.