Why do some Vermonters support or oppose school consolidation initiatives: case studies of community members in two supervisory unions

Thumbnail Image
Prugh, Byron David
Student enrollment in Vermont declined over the past two decades, but the number of schools and teachers employed across the state did not decrease at a similar rate. Vermont schools are typically smaller than average schools across the United States, and state legislators passed Act 46 in 2015 to encourage the consolidation of school districts. The purpose of these two case studies is to determine what educational leaders in two supervisory unions in Vermont were doing prior to the enactment of Act 46 to provide opportunities for students in their rural schools amidst changes in enrollment, and examine the responses of community members in the White River Valley Supervisory Union and the Franklin Northeast Supervisory Union to consolidation initiatives proposed in the two years after the passage of Act 46. These two case studies also determined reasons why voters in these two supervisory unions supported or opposed consolidation. This research can provide education policy makers with insights regarding future merger initiatives.