Merger Opportunity

“Better Together”

Act 46 - What does it do?

  • Provide substantial equity in the quality and variety of educational opportunities
  • Lead students to meet or exceed the State’s Educational Quality Standards
  • Maximize operational efficiencies through greater flexibility to manage, share, and transfer resources
  • Promotes transparency and accountability
  • Is delivered at a cost that parents, voters, and taxpayers value

The Law Is About the Following:

  • QUALITY

  • EQUITY

  • SUSTAINABILITY

Accelerated Adoption Requires

  • A Regional Study Completion (RED study the SU completed in 2012) - Done

  • Fully Compliant with Act 153 and Act 156 (Our SU became fully compliant with the consolidation of transportation and curriculum FY15) - Done

  • Agreement to move ahead as an SU - Tentatively agreed to at SU meeting on June 3, 2015 - Done

Accelerated Adopter Incentives

If we have a positive electorate vote by July 1, 2016 and we are operational by July 1, 2017:

  • Homestead Tax Rate Reduction for 5 Years ($.10/.08/.06/.04/.02)
  • Exempt from Act 46 Variable Cap
  • Merger Support Grant equal to or greater than current ABS Small Schools Grant ($88,000)
  • Transition Grant of $150,000

SU Board Assumptions Moving Forward:

  • We want to preserve every school in the current Supervisory Union - Don’t close ABS or WHS, Articles of Agreement;
  • Preserve as much of the existing school choice as the legislation allows - RED Study, Articles of Agreement;
  • Support a solution that provides improved opportunities for students and parents in our four existing towns;
  • Embrace discussions related to merger opportunities while avoiding mandated redistricting - Proposed FY18

Our Limitations with the Accelerated Adoption:

  • Any merger internally or externally requires participation by the entire SU;
  • Any merger must involve a merged school board and a merged budget;
  • Any merger must provide an equitable opportunity for all students across the SU (this includes choice options);
  • Any merger requires the successful adoption of a warned article in all four towns.

What are those limited options?

Option #1

Do Nothing Now (Conventional vs. Alternative)

  • Form a second RED Committee;
  • Forego 33% of accelerated tax incentive w/ Conventional;
  • Forego 100% of accelerated tax incentive w/ Alternative;
  • Variable spending cap remains in effect pending a merger;
  • If no agreement through a RED, then face State re-districting;
  • Face losing small schools grant ($88,000);
  • During the RED process, we continue to support incentives for SUs that are deciding to merge.

Option #2

PK-12 School District (No choice)

  • Merge school boards into one unified board (we can determine the membership);
  • Merge budgets into one unified budget broken out as Elementary, Middle, and Secondary;
  • No school choice for anyone PK-12.

Option #3

PK-12 School District (7-12 choice)

State Board of Education Governance Committee ruled that Title 16:21 Section 822 only applies to high school choice. Unfortunately, this is no longer an option.

Option #4

PK-12 School District (9-12 choice)

  • Merge school boards into one unified board (we can determine the membership);
  • Merge budgets into one unified budget broken out as Elementary, Middle, and Secondary;
  • Public high school choice for all students grades 9-12;
  • Private and Independent high school choice available to students grades 9-12 per an Article of Agreement.

Warning the formation of...

Articles of Agreement

The Warning for a proposed merger will include the following two important Articles of Agreement:

  • No school shall be closed without a majority vote by Australian ballot of the member town where the school is located;
  • No school choice options included in the Warning shall change without a majority vote by Australian ballot of each member town.

Articles of Agreement

Continued...

  • Any and all operating bond obligations, deficits and/or surpluses, as well as any assets, of any of the combining/forming districts shall continue to be the property, and/or the obligation, of the member town effective on the date of the creation of the SD;
  • The school board, recognizing the unique needs of each student, shall establish a policy that ensures consideration of all private and independent high school choice requests with regard to the historical practices of the former Weathersfield, Hartland and West Windsor school districts.

Benefits of Forming a District

  • Equitable choice opportunities for students and parents in our four existing towns;
  • Voters finally get to vote on District (SU) budget;
  • Control our own destiny;
  • Take advantage of accelerated incentives.

Other Benefits

  • Economies of Scale - Unpredictable costs;
  • Local pressures on budgets - FY15 Example - ABS/HES pressure vs Windsor surplus;
  • Flexibility for Principals and Staff (Placement, transfers, etc.);
  • Potential to become an Interstate District and avoid future State mandates.

Financial Benefits

If we have a positive electorate vote by July 1, 2016 and we are operational by July 1, 2017:

  • Homestead Tax Rate Reduction for 5 Years ($.10/.08/.06/.04/.02);
  • Exempt from variable Cap;
  • Merger Support Grant equal to or greater than current ABS Small Schools Grant ($88,000);
  • Transition Grant of $150,000.

Proposed Timeline

  • Community Forums (Summer 2015);
  • Community Surveys (Summer 2015);
  • Board Proposal (Sept 2015);
  • Present to Communities (Sept 2015);
  • Present to State Board (Oct 2015);
  • Finalize Warnings (December 2015);
  • Citizen Vote (March 2016).

Feedback on Options

  • Option #1: Do Nothing
  • Option #2: PK-12 - No Choice
  • Option #3: PK-12 - 7-12 Open Choice - Unfortunately, no longer an option
  • Option #4: PK-12 - 9-12 Open Choice

Questions & Comments