NCSU continues opposition to Act 46

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copyright the Chronicle September 6, 2017

 

by Joseph Gresser

 

NEWPORT — After attending a Vermont Superintendents Association meeting on August 30, John Castle, who oversees the North Country Supervisory Union, took off for the woods. He said Monday that he wanted to take time to get away from it all. “All” definitely includes Act 46, he said.

Mr. Castle said state officials, including Governor Phil Scott, Secretary of Education Rebecca Holcombe, and the heads of the House and Senate education committees took part in the Superintendents Association meeting. Representative Dave Sharpe of Bristol, who chairs the House Committee on Education, predicted a six- to ten-cent increase in the education property tax rate next year, but Mr. Castle said most of those present appeared pleased by how Act 46 has worked so far.

The law, which presses local school districts to combine into much larger ones, has been on the minds of many superintendents over the past couple of years. That pressure includes the offer of tax reductions for districts that vote early to merge.

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Lake Region continues to beat the odds

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copyright the Chronicle July 5, 201

 

by Brad Usatch

 

When U.S. News and World Report issued its 2017 rankings of Vermont public high schools, no one should have been surprised to see Lake Region Union High School near the top of the list. For five of the past six years, Lake Region has earned a silver medal in the annual review. This year it was rated eighth best in the state and in the top 10 percent nationally.

The rankings, according to the U.S. News and World Report website, are determined through a four-part test. Step one compares how students perform on standardized tests in math and English language skills compared to other students in the state. Step two measures the success of economically disadvantaged students against what would be statistically expected in the state. Step three factors in graduation rates. Step four uses advanced placement (AP) test performance to determine college readiness.

The class of 2017 was particularly impressive, according to Principal Andre Messier, who said the bar keeps getting raised by each successive senior class that comes through. While the class boasted a 91 percent graduation rate, with 35 percent of seniors taking at least one AP course, Mr. Messier said what marks this group as exceptional is their courage to leave Vermont and expand their range of experiences. A number of the students are heading off to highly competitive college programs, including Harvard University, the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, Middlebury College, Ohio State University, and McGill University in Montreal.

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