The group accomplished what many thought was improbable, if not impossible. It is changing the discussion in Montpelier about education funding. Instead of looking at how money flows around the state, the group is asking lawmakers to look at the results of how that money is being spent.
That approach is working. There is still much to be done, but state officials and legislators are beginning to see that education isn’t just about throwing money at schools. It’s about results.
Dover and Wilmington school and town officials and local legislators are to be commended for developing the plan and sticking to it. Gathering data, putting the results into a plausible narrative, and hiring a lobbying firm to manage the message, have all worked well. Instead of appearing to just be two towns whining about how much Act 60 and Act 68 have hurt them, the questions asked and the data gathered help bolster claims that money redistribution hasn’t necessarily helped create a more level playing field for education in the state.
At Tuesday’s joint meeting, Dover once again took the lead role when it comes to funding. But Wilmington seems willing to take a role in the funding as well, and that’s a good thing. Wilmington officials realize for the task force to be a true partnership, both towns must contribute a share. Their pledge to find a way to contribute also comes as welcome new.
Sometimes the way to affect change is through the courts, such as the initial lawsuit that brought about Act 60. Sometimes the best way to affect change is through the political and legislative process. Steering the state away from Act 68 isn’t going to happen through the courts. It is going to take time, patience, data, and persuasion.
The task force understands this. We salute the group’s efforts, and encourage them to continue them.
Irene remembered a year later
It was a year ago when Tropical Storm Irene came crashing down on Vermont. When it hit on Sunday, August 28, the lives of many would never be the same. In this week’s edition, and again next week, we continue our series on the region one year after Irene. We recall some of the recovery work that’s been done, and point out work that still needs to be done.
Recovering from Irene is an ongoing process, one that will continue to play out over the upcoming months and years. We are committed to report on as much of that process as possible to our readers.