State signs off on Act 46 merger
by Mike Eldred
Jul 28, 2017 | 2768 views | 0 0 comments | 150 150 recommendations | email to a friend | print
WILMINGTON- Twin Valley School Board members received good news from their business manager and from the state, and discussed use of the former high school at their regular meeting Tuesday evening.

According to business manager Karen Atwood, Twin Valley appears to have ended the year with a budget surplus. “It’s on the the plus side,” she said, “but I don’t know exactly how much yet. All the expenditures are in, but I don’t have all of the receivables in yet.”

Vermont Secretary of Education Rebecca Holcombe has officially certified the creation of the Twin Valley Unified Union School District, as well as Halifax and Readsboro’s Southern Valley Unified Union School District. The creation of the two districts, as well as two new boards, was approved by voters at the end of May. With the official certification in hand, the new boards must warn an organizational meeting within 60 days.

“We have the option of having Secretary Holcombe come down to administer the oaths and make it a formal thing,” said board member Kathy Larsen, “but we’re not required to do that. We just have to let her know.”

Board members decided to have their organizational meeting chaired by Windham Southwest Supervisory Union Superintendent Chris Pratt, and to invite Holcombe to visit later in the fall. “I’d rather have her come down in the fall so we can talk about our school,” agreed Boyd.

In other matters, Wilmington School Board Chair Adam Grinold said that negotiations for a lease agreement with the Old School Enrichment Center committee were underway, with no significant problems anticipated.

Grinold also asked board members to weigh in on a request for use of the facility that, he said, had been referred to the school district by the Old School Enrichment Center committee. To accommodate the use, Grinold said the school district would have to manage or monitor the activity, security, and maintenance of the gym and associated facilities. “There’s a group in Dover that is really hot and heavy to make arrangements to use the gym,” Grinold said. “They have a variety of requests at this point, and want to use the gym four days a week, as late as 11:30 at night. My initial reaction was to get this on the agenda, but I don’t feel we have the ability to support that activity at all.”

The group, an organized summer camp staying at Snow Lake Lodge and other inns, also requested use of the fields. “My understanding is they can use the fields any time,” Grinold said. “If there’s a school activity scheduled, they get the boot, but there’s no need to get permission for casual use of the field.”

Board members decided not to grant the group use of the indoor facilities. “It comes down to the need for supervision of the groups,” Larsen said. “I don’t think we should offer that, unless Janna (Ewart) wants to give up that much time.” Ewart, who is the board’s liaison for use of the facility, indicated she did not want to add to her volunteer duties. “When the board took that over in March, we said we were just keeping the existing users, not going to add more.”

“I don’t like to say ‘no’ to any community group, but there’s only so much we can do,” said Larsen.

Grinold noted that the closing date for sale of the building to the Old School Enrichment Center group was scheduled for July 30, at which time use of the facility would be under their discretion. He agreed with the board’s decision. “Getting too detailed beyond a short horizon isn’t fair to anyone,” he said.

Grinold said there had also been a request from the Deerfield Valley Farmers’ Day Fair committee to use the building, including the locker rooms and showers, during the fair. The board asked Ewart to discuss the use with the committee and come to an agreement with them.

Ewart asked about maintenance clauses in the school’s lease agreement for use of the gymnasium. Under the proposed lease, still under negotiation, repairs and maintenance will be the responsibility of OSEC. “There’s stuff that needs to be done to the gym floor,” Ewart said. “When would they do that? Will it be done before basketball season?”

“We haven’t had any of those discussions,” said Boyd. “It just says it’s their responsibility.”

Grinold said the extent of OSEC’s responsibilities, and the timing of repairs, were still part of the negotiations on the lease agreement. “I think there’s at least one more round of discussion,” he said.

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