St. Johnsbury to Consolidate?

sjtschoolborderSt. Johnsbury-  Many towns in the state are scrambling to meet the new requirements under Vermont's Act 46: If a school district has under 900 students, they must consolidate with nearby schools.

 In St. Johnsbury, however, it is a different story. The district has just over 1,000 stuents, putting them over the consolidation threshold. Just because they are in the clear doen't mean that talks of district mergers are entirely out of the question.

"Vermont is one of the highest per-student spending states in the Union", said Ranney Bledsoe, St. Johnsbury's superintendent. "There are some benefits. If you consolidate early there are some tax reaks and there is also some money for studies."

Where there are positives, there are negatives, and the possibility of adjoining schools incorporating with St. Johnsbury isn't all good news for residents. The town enjoys a tax tate much lower than surrounding communities, but if a merger were to occur, taxpayers would be paying more out of pocket.

"It would raise tax rates. There could be a tax break for a couple of years but after that we would have to pay more", said Bledsoe.

She notes that the board has some peaked interest in discussing to possible move, and that it will be put on the agenda for a future meeting. "We will explore it", said Bledsoe.

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