The editor indicated that without some explanations, many people would
simply not understand what we were talking about.  I therefore added
introductory info to produce the following School Board Report.  If you
want any changes (IN CAPS) send them so that I have them tomorrow by mid
morning since the paper goes to press tomorrow.
                Thanks ..... Wavell

Special Education Update:
In earlier issues of Moretown Matters, the projected extraordinary
increase in high cost special education children at Moretown elementary
school was reported, with the expectation that in the next few years
special education costs would skyrocket.  The efforts of the Moretown
school board to secure legislative changes in special education funding
to help alleviate this anticipated large funding problem were reported
in the last issue of Moretown Matters as being successful. This good
news was premature. Representative Alan Weiss was incorrect when he
informed us that the senate had passed a bill allocating $2.3 million to
deal with exceptional special education costs in districts such as
Moretown. What happened was that Senator Jeb Spaulding, who was planning
to introduce just such a bill, ran into a problem when consulting
Department of Education analysts.  Special education costs at Moretown
were not projected to rise into the exceptional category until 2000-2001
fiscal year.  On that basis Jeb dropped the issue for that year, but
failed to communicate with Alan Weiss.  Alan then inadvertently
misinterpreted an unrelated $2.3 million discretionary spending bill,
and incorrectly passed that information on to us.
Jeb has since organized a meeting with board member Wavell Cowan, and
including Bill Talbot from the Department of Education  The result is
that the Department will develop a “needs” criterion for exceptional
special education costs as a basis for Jeb Spaulding to seek appropriate
funding for next year. We’ll keep you informed of progress.
Harwood Governance:
A Harwood 7-8 committee including members representing Warren,
Waitsfield, and Fayston, and supported by superintendent Bill Riegel is
seeking to devise a so-called contract district approach (a number of
school districts contracting with each other to support the operation of
a common school) whereby middle school students at Harwood can be placed
under the control and responsibility of a new board consisting of
delegated members from existing elementary school boards. The Moretown
board have indicated that this proposed new Harwood 7-8 board does not
have their support. The Moretown board feels that another layer of
bureaucracy will only increase the current inefficiency of Harwood
(7-12) governance. They believe the only viable solution to the Harwood
governance problems is to develop an integrated K-12 or 7-12 solution.
It has been suggested that the Harwood 7-8 committee should check with
the State Board of Education for a legal opinion as to where the Valley
towns will stand if Moretown won’t join the proposed contract district.
The Moretown board believes the current Harwood board would then
necessarily still govern the Middle School, since they cannot abrogate
their statutory responsibilities and the articles of association require
a unanimous vote of all towns for any change.  This would mean that the
Valley towns would  have no governing authority but would simply tuition
their students (pay the costs) into a Harwood district middle school
composed of Moretown as the sole remaining sending school, not having
withdrawn its middle school students.  More to come as this situation
Harwood Assessment:
A resolution of the Harwood assessment problem, the problem reported in
the last issue of Moretown Matters  (the Education department ruling
confirming that the Harwood board has been improperly assessing member
towns) has stalled at the Harwood board level. Motions responding to
this problem are expected at their next meeting but there are only
rumors of content and speculation of support for those motions. We await
a concrete proposal from them before considering a course of action.
This contentious issue will be with us for some time.