Tuesday March 20, 2012

BRATTLEBORO -- Voters in Wilmington and Whitingham will decide today whether or not to approve a bond vote that would consolidate the three area schools into two.

For more than a decade, residents in each town have wrestled with what to do with shrinking enrollment.

From 10 a.m. until 7 p.m. in each town, voters will have the choice via Australian Ballot on whether or not to pass a bond of $13,341,734, which includes $3,977,884 to renovate the Deerfield Valley Elementary school in Wilmington and $9,473,850 to expand and update the Twin Valley Middle and High School in Whitingham.

If the bond vote passes it would also create one unified school board, combining the three current boards.

Last July, both towns were presented with three options for the schools’ future. The majority of voters in each town selected Option A -- putting the elementary students in Wilmington and the middle and high school students in Whitingham.

Initial projected savings for both towns were estimated at $541,264 but after reviewing "education specifications" for the consolidated education program, that number was lowered to $433,250 annually for both towns, said Wilmington School Board Chairman Phil Taylor.

Consolidation costs savings for Wilmington would be $345,754 and $87,495 for Whitingham if the bond vote passes.

Josh Stilts can be reached at jstilts@reformer.



com, or 802-254-2311 ext. 273.