Ordered two years ago
Peter Mello, a former superintendent who is now chairman of the Rutland City school board, and John Stempek will conduct the study that was first ordered of BVSU two years ago. Both men are expected to spend 10 days to complete the project, at a cost to the district of about $4,200, Superintendent Thomas Gallagher said. The agreement is expected to be ratified at the next BVSU meeting.
Previously, Gallagher was expected to do the study himself, but the study was pushed back for numerous reasons, including Arlington and Sandgate districts joining a study committee with five other districts to consider forming a K-12 regional educational district.
There was also hesitation on the part of BVSU because officials previously believed no matter what the study concluded the state would force the Arlington supervisory union to dissolve. In November, Gallagher said, the Department of Education confirmed that if the study proves the current structure is the most efficient and effective the State Board of Education will not force consolidation.
At the same time, Gallagher said he felt as if the department questioned whether he would be able to conduct an objective study.
"My objectivity came under question so I felt that
The study will consider the educational, financial and community impact of the Arlington and Sandgate districts joining either the Southwest Vermont or Bennington-Rutland supervisory union. Part of the study will include interviewing people who were on the school board when Arlington and Sandgate left the SVSU in the mid-1980s.
The study was asked of BVSU by the state board in May 2010, prior to Gallagher's hiring. At that time the study was expected to be complete by November 2010.
The state board granted a June 2011 extension and then another extension of May 2013 with an update on progress made by next month's state board meeting.
The consultants would be able to meet that deadline, Gallagher said, although he has asked whether the state board may push that report back to May. The state board's April meeting coincides with spring break for local schools and no BVSU board members would be able to attend the April meeting. In addition, Gallagher said, the state board plans to meet in Bennington in May making it easier to attend that meeting.
Gallagher volunteered to work 10 less days to save BVSU the expense of the consultants, although the board asked him to work his full contracted time with the expectation that there is additional money in the budget. If there is the possibility of overspending the budget as the end of the year draws nearer, then Gallagher will take days off in order to keep from doing so.
Contact Dawson Raspuzzi at email@example.com.