Board readying for first annual meeting of new school district
by Lauren Harkawik
Jan 12, 2018 | 2310 views | 0 0 comments | 72 72 recommendations | email to a friend | print
WARDSBORO - At its meeting on January 2, the River Valleys Unified School District Board approved the warning for the district’s first annual meeting. The meeting will be held on Tuesday, February 13, at 7 pm at Dover Town Hall. Although the district will not become operational until July 1, 2019 and therefore there is not a budget to vote on, there are several items that the electorate will need to make decisions about.

Articles 1 through 3 pertain to electing a moderator, clerk, and treasurer for the new district. At the district’s organizational meeting in September, Dr. Robert Bacchus was elected moderator, Andy McLean, the town clerk of Dover, was elected moderator, and Marco Tallini, the town treasurer for Dover, was elected treasurer.

Chair Rich Werner said he would ask Bacchus if he would continue to act as moderator. “Andy McLean has said he will serve as clerk,” said Werner, “but he has asked for a $2,000 stipend.” In the fall, McLean told the board that because per its articles of agreement the district needs to do its first budget vote by Australian ballot, which McLean said will require specialized knowledge and will be labor intensive, he would require the stipend. Werner said that it was his understanding that Wardsboro’s town clerk, Jackie Bedard, was not interested in the position.

Article 3 asks whether the voters will elect the Windham Central Supervisory Union treasurer, who the WCSU’s website lists as Teri Fletcher, as the treasurer for the district, which technically would not comply with the law because Fletcher is not a resident of Wardsboro or Dover.

“A lot of places will elect the treasurer of the supervisory union as the treasurer for the district,” said Werner. “Technically, the treasurer is supposed to be of the electorate of the district. But it kind of makes sense to have the WCSU treasurer do it. There’s really no money to manage and there won’t be money to manage until June 30, 2019. Marco (Tallini) is willing to do it if we need him to. If the voters don’t mind, they can elect (the WCSU treasurer), if no one makes an issue of it. In other towns they’ve done it and it’s been fine. In other towns, people have made an issue and it hasn’t worked.”

“Technically it’s not legal,” said vice chair Rick Thorpe. “But the WCSU essentially already does all of the accounting for Wardsboro Elementary anyway. So electing them to be treasurer makes sense.”

“The reason we would elect the Windham Central treasurer is not to hide anything,” said Werner. “It just makes sense.”

Article 4 pertains to compensating the district’s school board members $1,000. Currently, Dover’s school board members receive $2,000 and the chair receives $2,500. Wardsboro currently pays its school board members $200. “We tried to split it in the middle,” said Werner.

Article 5 asks voters to decide on the date and location of the district’s annual meeting. “It will be the second Tuesday in February, with even years in Dover and odd years in Wardsboro,” said Werner.

Under Article 6, which asks voters to transact any other pertinent business, the board intends to go over several details of how the board is operating, including when and where board meetings are and the calendar the board has established for its work over the next year.

Voters will also decide whether to hold budget votes by Australian ballot or floor vote starting in 2019, and Wardsboro voters will decide whether to continue to elect school directors from the floor or to move to an Australian ballot. Dover’s voters currently elect their directors by Australian ballot. No changes are proposed to that process in Dover.

The River Valleys board will hold four public informational meetings leading up to the February 13 annual meeting. They will occur on Monday, January 15, at 7 pm at the Dover School; Tuesday, January 30, at 7 pm at the Dover School; Tuesday, February 6, at 7 pm at Wardsboro Elementary; and Monday, February 5, at 7 pm at Wardsboro Elementary School.
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