Board gets update on Act 46 mandates
by Linda Donaghue
Aug 29, 2017 | 2786 views | 0 0 comments | 124 124 recommendations | email to a friend | print
WHITINGHAM– Twin Valley School Board Chair Seth Boyd attended the Wednesday, August 16, Whitingham Selectboard meeting to review the statutory mandates of Act 46 required to formalize the Twin Valley Unified Union School District.  Act 46 was created by the Legislature in 2015 to encourage consolidation of Vermont schools, an effort to reduce district costs and improve efficiency and governance. A meeting on September 12, to be held at the Twin Valley Middle High School gym, has been warned to vote on several articles, including the election of officers and establishing a date for an annual meeting close to Town Meeting day in March 2018.

A vote this past May approved the formation of the Twin Valley Unified Union School District.  Readsboro and Halifax also voted to create the Southern Valley Unified Union School District.

“A few things we have to do,” said Boyd, “are to elect a moderator and treasurer and determine pay for the moderator, clerk, and treasurer.”

Board member Greg Brown wanted to know the dynamics of the voting.  Boyd said anyone at the meeting on September 12 will vote on the warned articles and the votes of attendees from both towns are co-mingled.  Act 46 requires Australian ballot for a unified school district budget vote at the later annual meeting. Brown noted that certain incentives were part of the Act 46 plan and asked when those will take effect.  The incentives include four years of decreasing tax rate reductions, a transition grant of $150,000 to pay for consulting and legal costs related to change in governance, stability in equalized pupil counts, and other benefits still being determined by the Legislature.

“We’re not really unified yet,” Boyd said, noting that July 2018 begins the first fiscal year of the TVUUSD.  As of July 2018, there will be three board members from Whitingham and four from Wilmington.

Alan Twitchell asked if there were ideas for moderator and Boyd replied that talks are underway with current moderators of both towns.  He added that either one of the two town clerks or the supervisory union business manager could act as the district clerk. 

In other business, Brown discussed problems with the fuel tank that supplies the school generator, an essential requirement to maintain the school’s readiness as an emergency shelter. He said Greg Nido is testing for water in the tank but hasn’t found any yet, possibly because the tank may have shifted and his test equipment hasn’t found it.  However, Nido will pump when he finds water.  At that point, the plan is to keep the tank at full capacity to prevent condensation from occurring and eliminating the problem in the future.

Following the impending retirement of transfer station attendant Clyde Twitchell, the board reviewed three applications for his position.  Road commissioner Stanley Janovsky recommended Jennifer Herzig for the job. 

Brown subsequently made a motion to to hire Herzig. Twitchell seconded, all voted in favor.  It was noted that Herzig would start on Saturday, August 19.

Administrative assistant Gig Zboray presented a letter to Twitchell for his 10 years of service and representation to the Windham Solid Waste Management District.  The letter was signed and Zboray was appointed interim representative. Brown added that he has been concerned about flooded culverts and the possibility of a catastrophic washout of the road on Jacksonville Hill.  He has contacted the Vermont Agency of Transportation and has been assured that they will intensify efforts to clean out the culverts.

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