Vermont Act 46

Implications for School Choice
Quinn Bornstein
Brown University
Author
Danai Benopoulou
Mike Danello
Phillip Squires
Editors
Fall 2018

This paper analyzes Vermont Act 46, an education policy passed by the state legislature in 2015 that seeks to reduce rising public education costs by consolidating the state’s many small, rural school districts into larger unified districts

Introduction

Vermont is the second-smallest state in the United States, with a 2014 population of around 626,500. Compared to the country as a whole, Vermont has a smaller percentage of residents under the age of 18: 19.4% compared to the  23.1% nationwide average (US Census Bureau, 2014). Even though this number might appear to be trivial, the difference illustrates a dire issue that the state is facing. The number of children in the state’s K-12 public school system has declined from 103,000 students in 1997 to 78,300 in 2015 without a significant reduction in school sites or personnel. This, in turn, has led to a sharp increase in education spending. Since 2009, Vermont’s per-pupil expenditure has been among the highest nationwide.[1] The budgetary expansion is exacerbated by the changing demographics of students who are enrolled in the school system, including a 47% increase in the number of students who qualify for free and reduced lunches through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.[2] A heavy burden of this spending increase is placed on residents’ income taxes.

Vermont’s school-aged population decline and the accompanying spending hikes are not expected to improve in the coming years. Therefore, state lawmakers have been searching for a way to provide the best opportunities to students while simultaneously decreasing the educational budget. A possible policy solution is Vermont Act 46, which was signed into law in June 2015 by former Governor Peter Shumlin. The act provides three school district consolidation styles and offers tax incentives to towns that merge to create districts that contain at least 900 students.[3] If successful, the act aims to increase educational opportunities through the curricular and extracurricular programs offered by larger districts, and decrease budgetary inefficiencies caused by Vermont’s underutilized school facilities and personnel. But what will guarantee Act 46’s success in implementation? As written, the law is poised for success in its high-visibility and symbolic appeal to community unity as well as its use of monetary inducements as a policy tool to increase district cooperation. In addition, its mixed top-down and bottom-up structure appeals politically to a wide range of constituencies including conservatives, liberals, the governor, and school board members.

However, Act 46’s success is threatened by the controversy surrounding whether districts that merge will have to give up their school choice rights. Leading education policy analyst Rick Hess argues that one of the biggest impediments to policy implementation is political controversy around the topic.[4] School choice is a longstanding attribute of the Vermont public education system. Because of the state’s mainly rural population, 82 out of 97 school districts do not have the capacity to operate their own high school.[5] Thus, inhabitants of those districts are free to choose a high school, rather than be assigned one. The ability to attend a school outside of the district is highly valued among Vermont communities as it allows for local control, parental freedom, and increased educational opportunity. Due to the community’s investment in school choice, the implementation of Act 46 will only be successful if it is revised and clarified by the Vermont legislature in order to preserve school choice.

 

Vermont Act 46 Explained

Vermont Act 46 operates on two axes: budgetary efficiency and increasing student opportunity. Legislators and the governor believe that both policy issues can be addressed through school district consolidation. Currently, the state contains 13 different types of school district structures. This diversity has resulted in a lack of cohesion and flexibility to share curricular resources, administrative models, and extra-curricular opportunities.[6] Because of Vermont’s low population density—an average of 68 residents per square mile—the smallest Vermont elementary school contains 15 students, and the smallest high school a mere 55.[7] These schools are not anomalies: out of the state’s 300 public schools, 205 enroll fewer than 300 students.[8] On the one hand, small classroom sizes and low student to teacher ratios offer many benefits, such as individualized attention. However, small schools often do not have the ability to offer a diverse range of educational opportunities and have higher per-pupil costs than larger schools. Research on economies of scale by Bruce Baker of Rutgers University and Wendy Geller of the Vermont State Agency of Education finds that nationwide, “district-level per pupil costs tend to level off as district enrollments approach 2000 pupils.” This means that moderately sized districts, those enrolling 2,000-4,000 students, can have an efficient per-pupil expenditure without sacrificing individualized teaching practices that result in optimal student performance. However, only four out of the 97 Vermont districts contain over 2,000 students.[9] To feasibly balance the optimal district population (according to national literature) with Vermont’s rural demographics, legislators compromised and decided on 900 students as the optimal district size under Act 46.

On the side of economic efficiency, Act 46 seeks to rein in educational spending by setting allowable spending increases per district; citizens are taxed doubly for every dollar amount exceeding this limit. This sanction is balanced by the positive tax incentives to induce districts to consolidate. Act 46 outlines three paths to consolidation with varying deadlines, with the inducements being higher the sooner a district consolidates. Districts who follow the first path and merge by the 2017 deadline receive a 10-cent tax break per $100 of residential property within the district. This amount decreases by two cents annually over the next five years, greatly incentivizing districts to merge before 2022.[10]

Inducements are a powerful policy tool for implementing rapid change, for districts will want to maximize their tax break potential. This method operates under the assumption that monetary measures are the best way to prompt change.[11] Since the main goal of Act 46 is to counter the heavy spending pressures that districts face, the use of inducements is well founded. Districts will be fiscally motivated to consolidate as they face the opportunity to save money in the short term while implementing a policy that will also help them save money in the long run. However, this policy tool presents a controversy because the allowable spending increases, tax benefits, and sanctions are top-down inducements. Stowe Representative Heidi Scheuermann, who staunchly opposes Act 46, argues that the law erodes the traditional power of local policymakers and school board members, impeding their ability to monitor their districts’ educational budgets. She states that the consolidation of budgetary power in the hands of legislators in the state’s capital moves the schooling system further away from providing for the diverse needs of individual students in Vermont’s varied districts.[12]

It is natural for Scheuermann, as a Republican member of the state legislature, to be wary of increased state power over traditionally local matters. However, Act 46 is “designed to encourage and support local decisions and actions.”[13] The legislation balances the top-down economic inducements by providing district autonomy over which of the three phases of consolidation to enact. It also allows the districts autonomy on how to undergo the actual restructuring process. Furthermore, consolidation is neither mandated nor does the Act require districts to have over 900 students. The language merely states that the “state’s educational goals are best served” by this number.[14] The top-down voluntary size standards and fiscal inducements coupled with the bottom-up local control on how to meet these standards is reminiscent of President George W. Bush’s No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). This 2001 policy operated on a “horse-trade” structure of a federal call for state authority on setting certain standards and designing teaching and testing practices to meet them.[15]

Act 46 follows this federalism-preserving structure, but differs from NCLB in its focus on restructuring as the key to educational reform, instead of altering student and teacher standards. The restructuring movement, which emphasizes individual school-level administrative practices such as site-based-management (SBM), is popular with local school administrators and school board members, for it returns power to the local level. Often, school board members are proponents of the status quo in education policy; that is, they want to maintain the current policy monopoly that the majority of school districts nationwide have their budgets and administrative processes decided by a democratically elected school board.[16] School redistricting clearly differs from Vermont’s status quo, and the decreased number of districts will result in fewer school board positions and therefore a lower number of Vermonters who will have control over the educational system. However, because of the bottom-up autonomy that districts retain under Act 46, the Vermont School Board Association director, Nicole Mace, supports the law.[17]

On the other hand, the Act’s top-down aspects appeal to powerful individuals in Montpelier, the state’s capital, who benefit from the increased state control. These individuals, such as Jeff Francis, who is the head of the Vermont Superintendents’ Association (VSA), are crucial to the law’s implementation. They have access to the media and can thus raise public awareness of the law. They also have leadership roles with state bureaucratic agencies such as the Department of Education and authority over local superintendents.[18] The VSA is also a proponent of Act 46 because superintendents statewide are expected to receive increased public approval for taking initiative in implementing a reform that touts both fiscal responsibility and educational opportunity. However, Act 46 could contribute to what Hess calls “policy churn” due to its support from the VSA. Since superintendents often have short tenures, averaging around three years, the results of the reforms they put in place but are often reaped once they out of office.[19] Even before the first phase of district consolidation goes into effect in 2017, the next governor or legislative body could decide that merging would not solve the state’s education budget concerns. Therefore, to ensure its full implementation over time, it is important that Act 46 is supported by the public, not just the policymakers and bureaucrats. The latter individuals could be more concerned with furthering their own personal political agendas rather than ensuring student welfare.

The law is successful at garnering bipartisan support among Vermont voters and taxpayers. Although conservatives like Rep. Scheuermann are concerned with the increase in state power that comes with implementation, others would support the law’s primary aim of fiscal responsibility. On the other side of the aisle, liberals would tout the possibilities for increased student opportunity that comes with redistricting, especially for those on free and reduced lunch who may otherwise not have access to extracurricular enrichment opportunities. In 2015, a student had to turn down the opportunity to attend the University of Vermont under its full-ride Green & Gold merit scholarship because her high school did not offer the curriculum required for her to apply to the university.[20] Under Act 46, larger districts would be able to offer more specialized instruction, such as Advanced Placement, vocational education, and arts courses. This means that all Vermont students would have a more level playing field; achievement will not be limited to those who happen to live in districts with large high schools.

Act 46 also succeeds in gaining widespread public support because of what Hess calls high visibility. Community awareness of the law is important because it impacts not just families with school-aged children, but every Vermonter due to the effect that the law has on their property taxes. The act’s high profile on the state agenda is evident in the community forums that supervisory unions have held across the state in the past year to explain the law’s contents. St. Johnsbury Academy, a high school in Caledonia County that serves students from more than 14 local districts, explained to taxpayers, through its community forum, that the school’s allowable tuition increase would be 1.95% (which is the average of all the sending towns’).[21] These opportunities for resident input and learning are important to foster support for a complicated economic bill that could have appeared to be the product of disassociated Montpelier politicians. Hess explains that another aspect of increasing visibility is symbolism: this new law gives the impression of grand change.[22] Even if residents do not fully understand the intricacies of the three phases of consolidation or the economic inducements, they can support the act’s ideals of opportunity, equality, local authority, fiscal responsibility, and unity despite geographic isolation.

 

The Issue of School Choice

Despite the law’s many benefits, one deeply-rooted Vermont ideal does not have a place in Act 46: school choice. In other areas, Act 46 is poised for success in implementation: it addresses an important fiscal issue, utilizes inducements as a policy tool, provides opportunities for student achievement, garners wide-ranging bipartisan support, and is highly visible. Yet Hess argues that successfully implemented policies should not only have high visibility, but also low controversy.[23] Granted, there is some disagreement as to Act 46’s success in the aforementioned areas. The conservative interest group Campaign for Vermont argues that the tax write-offs for residents in districts that merge will actually lead to higher educational spending, not lower.[24] Conservatives like Rep. Scheuermann are also concerned with the possible erosion of local control. However, the larger danger of losing local control does not come from Montpelier’s top-down mandates and inducements. The major source of controversy is the legislation’s unclear language about whether former choice towns that merge with non-choice towns will still provide tuition to allow families to send their children to schools outside the new district. Act 46, as currently written, states it will not change the way a district pays students’ tuition.[25] Many legislators and schools, such as St. Johnsbury Academy, interpreted this to mean that choice is only given up if the school board of a sending town chooses to mandate that all their resident students attend the new district schools.[26] However, the State Board of Education ruled that school choice towns cannot maintain their choice if they merge with a district with schools that offer those grades.[27] Therefore, there is a vast gulf between how the law was written and envisioned, and how it would be implemented.

Act 46’s chances of success are greatly reduced if school choice is not maintained and the Vermont state legislature does not revise and clarify the law’s language to overturn the State Board of Education’s ruling. The preservation of this 140-year-old Vermont educational practice is essential because of its bipartisan support, symbolism, and educational opportunity. Vermont’s school choice system is designed so that school boards in towns that do not offer all K-12 grade levels must pay tuition for students to attend a public or approved secular, independent school outside of the town or district for those absent grades. It could be the case that a town has such a designated “sending school,” but a child is better served by attending a different school, for geographic or curricular reasons. In this situation, the parents can petition the school board to have the child’s tuition follow them to the other school.[28] This flexibility for students to move across districts is important because many schools are too small to offer a wide range of Advanced Placement or language courses.[29] Furthermore, Vermont is practically exempt from the provision of the federal No Child Left Behind act, that allows students to attend another school in the same district if their designated school does not meet the standards of adequate yearly progress toward excellence for two years. There are very few school districts in Vermont containing more than one school offering the same grade levels.[30] Without school choice, parents would have to change their place of residence to save their child from attending a failing school, putting families in a difficult situation. Choice also promotes community control; school boards are in charge of allotting tuition to the various sending schools and deciding if a town has a designated high school. Finally, choice connotes freedom and individualism; this symbolism appeals to both conservatives who value local government and family values, and liberals who want to provide equal opportunities.

During the 2016 gubernatorial race, in the first debate between Republican Phil Scott and Democrat Sue Minter, both candidates expressed support for school choice, despite their differing views on Act 46 and the necessary steps needed to enhance the state’s public education system. Minter stood by the existing school choice system, but would counter its expansion. Scott, on the other hand, promised to expand school choice and lamented the fact that Act 46 curtailed a key Vermont value.[31]

In the first year of implementation, residents of 55 school districts voted on merging into larger districts. The results varied, with several districts on the western side of the state in Chittenden County touting successful merger votes. John Castle, superintendent of the North Country Supervisory Union, explained that this success, which came from the most densely populated section of Vermont, is due to its “different ethos and cultural disparities” compared to other, rural areas of the state. He cites a fear among residents of rural districts like Orleans Central and Franklin Northeast, a particularly isolated district along the Canadian border, that a merger will bring with it a sense of loss of community identity and history.[32] Three districts have defeated the proposal entirely. However, the majority of districts remain at an irresolute intermediary stage, while merger study and exploratory committees try to decide how best to balance the needs of taxpayers and students with the district’s budget.[33]

 

The unification study committee report for the Franklin Northeast Supervisory Union, a district that ultimately failed to pass the Act, outlines the changes to school choice that the merger would entail. Students from the three districts who are currently enrolled in grades 9-12 for the 2016-17 school year would be “grandfathered”: their tuition dollars would follow them and allow them the choice to attend their current school, even if it is out of district. However, successful passage of Act 46 would bring an end to choice at the close of the 2019-20 school year.[34] Including those in Franklin Northeast, four out of fifteen towns that have rejected merger proposals offer school choice.[35]

 

Members of the State GOP, led by House Minority Leader Don Turner, have called for a reconsideration of the bill to permit “communities the ability to keep their school choice and still merge with non-school choice towns.” While this would be the best solution for constituent support and educational opportunity, not all actors find this feasible. Nicole Mace of the Vermont School Boards Association and Jess Francis of the Vermont Superintendents Association argue that the state will face an added cost by providing tuition for choice while also operating all K-12 grade levels within the same district.[36] They believe this will exacerbate the problems of the high education budget that Act 46 seeks to repair.

 

Apart from the argument to not amend Act 46 as currently written, skeptics could also look to test scores to argue in favor of rescinding the law entirely. Vermont’s scores on the 2015 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) test continue to rank among those of the top 10 states in the country. The only state higher in 4th grade reading is Massachusetts (with no state topping Vermont in 8th grade reading) and the achievement gap between students on Free and Reduced Lunch and those who are not is much lower in Vermont than the national average.[37] One of the main goals of Act 46 is to enhance student achievement. However, students are already successful. So, why change the system?

 

However, school district consolidation under Act 46 is concerned with a different kind of success - not the kind that can be measured through standardized test scores. The law allows for districts to provide extra-curricular and advanced curricular opportunities—the arts, sports, foreign language, Advanced Placement courses—to isolated, rural students who may not otherwise have access to academic enrichment. While Act 46 is an economic policy and its main goal is to rein in the education budget, lawmakers and constituents must not forget that the primary aim of any policy affecting schoolchildren and their families is to provide students with the best educational experiences and opportunities for success. School choice is an essential component of widening rural children’s academic and social experiences. Milton Friedman writes that school choice promotes a “healthy intermingling” of students from varied racial and socioeconomic backgrounds.[38] At St. Johnsbury Academy, students from the more than 14 sending districts in Vermont and New Hampshire[39] attend classes with hundreds of domestic and international boarding students. If Act 46 were to discontinue school choice, local students from one town could be arbitrarily designated to attend an inferior or less diverse secondary school, merely because of the way the redistricting lines were drawn.

 

While the Vermonters arguing for school choice are mainly fueled by tradition and desire for educational opportunity, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos supports school choice as a way to limit federal involvement in education.[40] The Trump administration’s position on school choice differs from that of the Obama and Bush administrations. The former sees it as a way to flee struggling public schools while the latter focus on increasing accountability and raising test scores for public schools. This past concentration on improving public schools is logical—even though 37% of students in 2012 had school choice available to them, the vast majority of parents (77%) reported that the public school assigned to their neighborhood or school district was their first choice of school.[41]

 

Despite the fact that the majority of Americans favor their local public school, Vermont’s low population density, history of school choice and disparity in classes and programs offered, places the state in a very different position. This highlights the importance of maintaining school choice in Vermont, even if the majority of Americans don’t utilize the option. As the VBSA and VSA debate the fiscal difficulties of the mutual coexistence of choice and district merging, they must remember that the success of Act 46 depends on its low controversy among its constituencies. If parents cannot preserve choice for their children, Act 46 will be nearly impossible to implement statewide.

 

Endnotes

[1] Baker, Bruce D. and Wendy I. Geller. 2015. “When is Small Too Small? Efficiency, Equity & the Organization of Vermont Public Schools.” Vermont Agency of Education & Rutgers University. Retrieved from http://education.vermont.gov/documents/EDU-bbaker-vtconsolidation-march2_20152.pdf.

[2] St. Johnsbury Academy. 2015. SJA and Act 46. Retrieved from http://www.stjacademy.org/page.cfm?p=238&newsid=2773&ncat=11,10,9,4,7,12

[3] Vermont Agency of Education. 2015a. Act 46 of 2015 Fact Sheet. Retrieved from http://education.vermont.gov/documents/edu-act46-fact-sheet.pdf.

[4] Hess, Frederick M. 1999. “A Political Explanation of Policy Selection: The Case of Urban School Reform.” Policy Studies Journal, 27 (3), 459-473.

[5] Vermont Department of Education. 2013. Town and Unified Union School Districts Tuitioning One or more Grades. Retrieved from http://education.vermont.gov/documents/EDU-Town_and_Unified_School_Districts_Tuitioning_One_or_More_Grades.pdf

[6] St. Johnsbury Academy. 2015. SJA and Act 46. Retrieved from http://www.stjacademy.org/page.cfm?p=238&newsid=2773&ncat=11,10,9,4,7,12

[7] United States Census Bureau. 2014. Vermont Quickfacts. Retrieved from http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/50000.html.

[8] St. Johnsbury Academy. 2015. SJA and Act 46. Retrieved from http://www.stjacademy.org/page.cfm?p=238&newsid=2773&ncat=11,10,9,4,7,12

[9] Baker, Bruce D. and Wendy I. Geller. 2015. “When is Small Too Small? Efficiency, Equity & the Organization of Vermont Public Schools.” Vermont Agency of Education & Rutgers University. Retrieved from http://education.vermont.gov/documents/EDU-bbaker-vtconsolidation-march2_20152.pdf.

[10] Danitz Pache, Tiffany. 2015a. “Campaign for Vermont Calls for Repeal of Act 46.” Vermont Digger. Retrieved from http://vtdigger.org/2015/09/07/campaign-for-vermont-calls-for-repeal-of-act-46/.

[11] McDonnell, Lorraine M., and Richard F. Elmore 1987. Getting the Job Done: Alternative Policy Instruments. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, Vol. 9, No. 2 (Summer, 1987), pp. 133-152.

[12] Kinzel, Bob and Rick Cengeri. 2015. Getting Act 46 Together. Vermont Edition [Radio Broadcast]. Montpelier, VT: Vermont Public Radio.

[13] Vermont Agency of Education. 2015a. Act 46 of 2015 Fact Sheet. Retrieved from http://education.vermont.gov/documents/edu-act46-fact-sheet.pdf.

[14] Vermont Agency of Education. 2015b. Clarification on Act 46 Size Requirements. Retrieved from http://education.vermont.gov/documents/edu-act46-size-requirement-clarification.pdf.

[15] Fuhrman, Susan H. 2003. Ridings Waves, Trading Horses: The Twenty-Year Effort to Reform Education. In Gordon, David T. & Graham, Patricia A., A Nation Reformed: American Education 20 Years After A Nation at Risk. (pp. 7-22). Cambridge, Ma: Harvard Education Press.

[16] Papay, John. 2015. The Role of Research in Educational Politics and Policymaking [PowerPoint slides]. Retrieved from https://canvas.brown.edu/courses/1018282/files/folder/Class%2520Slides?preview=53833383.

[17] Danitz Pache, Tiffany 2015b. “State GOP Leaders Call for Clarification of Act 46 Impact on Private Schools.” Vermont Digger. Retrieved from http://vtdigger.org/2015/10/26/state-gop-leaders-call-for-clarification-of-act-46-impact-on-private-schools/.

[18] Danitz Pache, Tiffany. 2015a. “Campaign for Vermont Calls for Repeal of Act 46.” Vermont Digger. Retrieved from http://vtdigger.org/2015/09/07/campaign-for-vermont-calls-for-repeal-of-act-46/.

[19] Hess, Frederick M. 1999. “A Political Explanation of Policy Selection: The Case of Urban School Reform.” Policy Studies Journal, 27 (3), 459-473.

[20] Kinzel, Bob and Rick Cengeri. 2015. Getting Act 46 Together. Vermont Edition [Radio Broadcast]. Montpelier, VT: Vermont Public Radio.

[21] St. Johnsbury Academy. 2015. SJA and Act 46. Retrieved from http://www.stjacademy.org/page.cfm?p=238&newsid=2773&ncat=11,10,9,4,7,12

[22] Hess, Frederick M. 1999. “A Political Explanation of Policy Selection: The Case of Urban School Reform.” Policy Studies Journal, 27 (3), 459-473.

[23] Ibid.

[24] Danitz Pache, Tiffany 2015b. “State GOP Leaders Call for Clarification of Act 46 Impact on Private Schools.” Vermont Digger. Retrieved from http://vtdigger.org/2015/10/26/state-gop-leaders-call-for-clarification-of-act-46-impact-on-private-schools/.

[25] Vermont Agency of Education. 2015a. Act 46 of 2015 Fact Sheet. Retrieved from http://education.vermont.gov/documents/edu-act46-fact-sheet.pdf.

[26] St. Johnsbury Academy. 2015. SJA and Act 46. Retrieved from http://www.stjacademy.org/page.cfm?p=238&newsid=2773&ncat=11,10,9,4,7,12

[27] Danitz Pache, Tiffany 2015b. “State GOP Leaders Call for Clarification of Act 46 Impact on Private Schools.” Vermont Digger. Retrieved from http://vtdigger.org/2015/10/26/state-gop-leaders-call-for-clarification-of-act-46-impact-on-private-schools/.

[28] School Choice Vermont. 2015. Tuitioning and School Choice, and Access to Independent Schools in VT. The Legal Basics. Retrieved from http://www.schoolchoicevermont.com/choice-in-vt.html.

[29]Kinzel, Bob and Rick Cengeri. 2015. Getting Act 46 Together. Vermont Edition [Radio Broadcast]. Montpelier, VT: Vermont Public Radio.

[30] School Choice Vermont. 2015. Tuitioning and School Choice, and Access to Independent Schools in VT. The Legal Basics. Retrieved from http://www.schoolchoicevermont.com/choice-in-vt.html.

[31] Danitz Pache, Tiffany. 2016a. “In First Debate, Minter, Scott Clash on Act 46 and School Choice.” Vermont Digger. Retrieved from http://vtdigger.org/2016/08/23/in-first-debate-minter-scott-clash-on-act-46-and-school-choice/.

[32] Danitz Pache, Tiffany. 2016b. “Act 46 by the Numbers: Merger Votes are In.” Vermont Digger. Retrieved from http://vtdigger.org/2016/08/14/act-46-by-the-numbers-merger-votes-are-in/.

[33] Vermont School Boards Association. 2016. Act 46 Map. Retrieved from http://www.vtvsba.org/act-46-map.

[34] Franklin Northeast Supervisory Union Study Committee. 2016. Study Committee Report Franklin Northeast. Vermont Agency of Education. Retrieved from http://education.vermont.gov/sites/aoe/files/documents/edu-study-committee-report-franklin-northeast.pdf.

[35] Danitz Pache, Tiffany. 2016b. “Act 46 by the Numbers: Merger Votes are In.” Vermont Digger. Retrieved from http://vtdigger.org/2016/08/14/act-46-by-the-numbers-merger-votes-are-in/.

[36] Danitz Pache, Tiffany 2015b. “State GOP Leaders Call for Clarification of Act 46 Impact on Private Schools.” Vermont Digger. Retrieved from http://vtdigger.org/2015/10/26/state-gop-leaders-call-for-clarification-of-act-46-impact-on-private-schools/.

[37] Vermont Agency of Education. 2015c. Reading and Math Scores Remain Among Best in the Nation. Retrieved from http://education.vermont.gov/documents/edu-press-release-naep-scores-2015.pdf.

[38] Friedman, Milton. 1962. Capitalism and Freedom. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.

[39] St. Johnsbury Academy. 2015. SJA and Act 46. Retrieved from http://www.stjacademy.org/page.cfm?p=238&newsid=2773&ncat=11,10,9,4,7,12

[40] Strauss, Valerie. 2017. “What ‘school choice’ means in the era of Trump and DeVos. The Washington Post. Retrieved from https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/answer-sheet/wp/2017/05/22/what-school-choice-means-in-the-era-of-trump-and-devos/?utm_term=.b998a14bff38

[41] U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. (2018). Digest of Education Statistics, 2016 (NCES 2017-094), Table 206.40.

Works Cited

Baker, Bruce D. and Wendy I. Geller. 2015. “When is Small Too Small? Efficiency, Equity & the Organization of Vermont Public Schools.” Vermont Agency of Education & Rutgers University. Retrieved from http://education.vermont.gov/documents/EDU-bbaker-vtconsolidation-march2_20152.pdf.

Danitz Pache, Tiffany. 2015a. “Campaign for Vermont Calls for Repeal of Act 46.” Vermont Digger. Retrieved from http://vtdigger.org/2015/09/07/campaign-for-vermont-calls-for-repeal-of-act-46/.

Danitz Pache, Tiffany 2015b. “State GOP Leaders Call for Clarification of Act 46 Impact on Private Schools.” Vermont Digger. Retrieved from http://vtdigger.org/2015/10/26/state-gop-leaders-call-for-clarification-of-act-46-impact-on-private-schools/.

Danitz Pache, Tiffany. 2016a. “In First Debate, Minter, Scott Clash on Act 46 and School Choice.” Vermont Digger. Retrieved from http://vtdigger.org/2016/08/23/in-first-debate-minter-scott-clash-on-act-46-and-school-choice/.

Danitz Pache, Tiffany. 2016b. “Act 46 by the Numbers: Merger Votes are In.” Vermont Digger. Retrieved from http://vtdigger.org/2016/08/14/act-46-by-the-numbers-merger-votes-are-in/.

Franklin Northeast Supervisory Union Study Committee. 2016. Study Committee Report Franklin Northeast. Vermont Agency of Education. Retrieved from http://education.vermont.gov/sites/aoe/files/documents/edu-study-committee-report-franklin-northeast.pdf.

Friedman, Milton. 1962. Capitalism and Freedom. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.

Hess, Frederick M. 1999. “A Political Explanation of Policy Selection: The Case of Urban School Reform.” Policy Studies Journal, 27 (3), 459-473.

Fuhrman, Susan H. 2003. Ridings Waves, Trading Horses: The Twenty-Year Effort to Reform Education. In Gordon, David T. & Graham, Patricia A., A Nation Reformed: American Education 20 Years After A Nation at Risk. (pp. 7-22). Cambridge, Ma: Harvard Education Press.

Kinzel, Bob and Rick Cengeri. 2015. Getting Act 46 Together. Vermont Edition [Radio Broadcast]. Montpelier, VT: Vermont Public Radio.

McDonnell, Lorraine M., and Richard F. Elmore 1987. Getting the Job Done: Alternative Policy Instruments. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, Vol. 9, No. 2 (Summer, 1987), pp. 133-152.

Papay, John. 2015. The Role of Research in Educational Politics and Policymaking [PowerPoint slides]. Retrieved from https://canvas.brown.edu/courses/1018282/files/folder/Class%2520Slides?preview=53833383.

School Choice Vermont. 2015. Tuitioning and School Choice, and Access to Independent Schools in VT. The Legal Basics. Retrieved from http://www.schoolchoicevermont.com/choice-in-vt.html.

Strauss, Valerie. 2017. “What ‘school choice’ means in the era of Trump and DeVos. The Washington Post. Retrieved from https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/answer-sheet/wp/2017/05/22/what-school-choice-means-in-the-era-of-trump-and-devos/?utm_term=.b998a14bff38.

St. Johnsbury Academy. 2015. SJA and Act 46. Retrieved from http://www.stjacademy.org/page.cfm?p=238&newsid=2773&ncat=11,10,9,4,7,12

Vermont Act No. 46: An act relating to making amendments to education funding, education spending, and education governance. Vt. Gen. Assemb. B. 46 (2015).

Vermont Agency of Education. 2015a. Act 46 of 2015 Fact Sheet. Retrieved from http://education.vermont.gov/documents/edu-act46-fact-sheet.pdf.

Vermont Agency of Education. 2015b. Clarification on Act 46 Size Requirements. Retrieved from http://education.vermont.gov/documents/edu-act46-size-requirement-clarification.pdf.

Vermont Agency of Education. 2015c. Reading and Math Scores Remain Among Best in the Nation. Retrieved from http://education.vermont.gov/documents/edu-press-release-naep-scores-2015.pdf.

Vermont Department of Education. 2013. Town and Unified Union School Districts Tuitioning One or more Grades. Retrieved from http://education.vermont.gov/documents/EDU-Town_and_Unified_School_Districts_Tuitioning_One_or_More_Grades.pdf.

Vermont School Boards Association. 2016. Act 46 Map. Retrieved from http://www.vtvsba.org/act-46-map.

United States Census Bureau. 2014. Vermont Quickfacts. Retrieved from http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/50000.html.

 U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. (2018). Digest of Education Statistics, 2016 (NCES 2017-094), Table 206.40.

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