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July 2001

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Subject:
From:
Wavell Cowan <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Moretown Educational <[log in to unmask]>
Date:
Fri, 13 Jul 2001 10:02:56 -0400
Content-Type:
text/plain
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Fellow board members:
Hereafter is a draft of proposed material for Moretown Matters.  Please
review and comment, etc. before Thurs next week.  Thanks..... Wavell

SCHOOL BOARD UPDATES

Special Education:
     At a Department of Education (DOE) public meeting in June at which
only Moretown representatives turned out (Moretown principal Roberta
Barone, board members Kent Holden and Karen Horn, and representative
Maxine Grad), Moretown argued that the rules developed by the DOE for
dispersing money allocated by Act 117 to aid school districts with
unusual or unexpected special ed costs (which rules would eliminate
Moretown as a beneficiary) did not conform with legislative intent.
Kent presented an alternate set of rules developed by the Moretown
School board. These rules, they argued, more directly addressed the real
problem being considered by the legislature.   Although Moretown's
arguments and proposals produced discussion which occupied the whole
meeting, it is very uncertain as to whether they will produce
substantive changes.
     The DOE will now finalize their proposed rules and submit them for
the consideration of the State Board of Education at the board's August
meeting.  The Moretown school board plans to be present at this meeting
with a vigorous critique of the DOE proposed rules.

The Harwood Issue Resolved:
    On the advice of their attorneys the Moretown board crafted a
proposal whereby Moretown would release the funds withheld from Harwood
upon agreement by the Harwood board to make assessment adjustments over
the next two years in accordance with the recommendation of the
Commissioner of Education.  Such an agreement has been finalized and
signed by all school boards in the Washington West Supervisory Union
(WWSU).  This means that a one year correction will be made to the
assessment of the Harwood budget even though Harwood was found to have
made illegal assessments over a period of three years.  This adjustment
will recompense Moretown to the tune of some $20,000.
     It remains unclear as to whether this agreement has legal status in
the absence of an affirmative vote by all towns in the WWSU.
Nevertheless, our attorneys indicated that in their opinion the Courts
would give substantial weight to the findings and recommendations of the
Commissioner of Education. They therefore recommended that we resolve
the issue on this basis rather than allow the matter to go before the
courts.

WWSU Governance:
     With the Harwood issue resolved the Moretown School Board are now
seeking to activate and enhance the role of the WWSU board in order that
it begin to deal more effectively with issues that relate to all schools
in the WWSU.  Years of neglect and general apathy in this area are
making for slow progress.  However, it is hoped that the challenge posed
by the need to hire a new superintendent for FY 2003 will act as a
catalyst for more effective interboard cooperation and discussion.

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