Act 46: Jamaica School Board looks for feedback
JAMAICA — The School Board is seeking feedback from residents as it gets closer to making decisions around Act 46, the education law mandating district consolidation statewide.
"In December, we had a public meeting. From that, we had a number of people volunteer to be on committees to research all the options," said Jamaica School Board Chairwoman Stephanie Amyot. "We've been doing that all winter."
Those options will be discussed Tuesday, May 17, at 7 p.m. at the Jamaica Village School. The committees are expected to present their findings.
Staying within the Leland & Gray Union Middle and High School structure and creating a district with the towns that currently make up the union is one possibility. Townshend, Newfane, Brookline and Jamaica send their students to Leland & Gray after sixth grade. Consolidating those districts into one would keep them all within the Windham Central Supervisory Union.
The other possibilities would provide Jamaica students with school choice.
One option involves Jamaica leaving the Leland & Gray union to join Windham and Dover. Those two districts operate elementary schools in the WCSU that offer students school choice from seventh to 12th grade.
Jamaica could leave the Leland & Gray union and the supervisory union to join the Flood Brook Union School District and towns near Manchester which offer their kids choice from ninth to 12th grade.
Or Jamaica could join Stratton, another district within the WCSU which is in talks with Winhall and Searsburg about mergers. Winhall is a member of the Bennington Rutland Supervisory Union and Searsburg is part of the Windham Southwest Supervisory Union.
Leaving the Leland & Gray union may prove difficult for Jamaica.
"It would take a vote from the towns in the union," Amyot said.
The School Board is charged with making a decision on which merger should be pursued.
"But we are strongly wanting as much input from the town as possible," said Amyot. "We've been pretty open from the start, just wanting to find a solution that the town supports."
She said she hopes to get a "great turnout" at the meeting so the board can feel certain that it's heard from as many people as possible.
Jamaica residents can fill out surveys at the School Board meeting, where free child care will be provided. For residents who cannot make it to the meeting, surveys will be available at the Town Offices and at the school. But the document needs to be submitted to the board by the end of the meeting.
"They're basically ranking the options," said Amyot. "Then we'll begin collating that information that night and meet a few nights later, then have the committees give a recommendation to the board."
Contact Chris Mays at email@example.com or 802-254-2311, ext. 273.
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