Dover meeting to address solar project, legislation


DOVER -- The School Board has warned a special meeting, seeking feedback and guidance on a solar project as well as how the board should react to any legislation regarding school governance.

The board will host the meeting on May 27 at Dover School at 6:30 p.m.

The solar project was discussed at previous meetings but board members want to reach a consensus before moving forward. If people are opposed to it, School Board Chairman Rich Werner told the Reformer there may have to be a vote.

"We'll see what happens," he said.

The project involves a piece of land behind the school, where there are approximately 31 acres not being used. The idea to possibly host a solar array at the site was a result of Dover School Building Committee discussions on potential improvements.

Early in April, Werner said it was the opinion of an attorney that the project would not have to go out to bid or be approved by voters.

"But we've also told voters, we'd tell them about everything," he added. "Even if we're not required, we have the ability to let them know what's going on so we can get their opinion."

School Board member Chip Vicary and Selectboard Chairman Randy Terk agreed to look over the numbers in an effort to continue exploring whether the project would be worthwhile.

Although there was no piece of legislation in particular that the board wants to discuss yet, there are talks in Montpelier of cutting the small schools grant as well as increasing district consolidation.

Both topics created concerns mentioned by the board at meetings in the past. The special meeting will allow the board to get guidance from voters on actions it may want to take regarding any legislation that may affect the school.

"There's a lot of stuff that comes up," said Werner.

Last month, the House of Representatives voted to phase out the small schools grant in a six-year period. Dover currently benefits from that program.

Last week, the House narrowly passed a school merger bill, H.883, which could reduce the number of school district boards from 270 to 45 over six years. The Senate was scheduled to take up the school governance issue this week and scale back mandates of the House bill.

The Senate's bill is focused on requiring local districts study possible mergers and to submit a report as well as providing incentives to districts that voluntarily merge.

The legislative session ends on May 10.

Chris Mays can be reached at 802-254-2311, ext. 273, or Follow Chris on Twitter @CMaysReformer.


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