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Mixed Results On Two Act 46 Merger Votes

There were mixed results from two Act 46 consolidation votes held Tuesday night.

The six towns in the Addison Rutland district will not consolidate after the town of Orwell rejected the proposed merger plan.

All six towns had to approve the merger for it to move forward. Alyson Eastman, the chairwoman of the Addison Rutland Act 46 Study Committee, says the district will try for another vote.

"It looks like we'll be electing study committee members to form the study committee for the next round," she says. 
 
In the Lamoille North district, four of the six towns approved the merger.

In that district, the consolidation plan was written to allow it to move forward with a majority, and so the schools in Eden, Hyde Park, Johnson and Belvidere will merge under a single board.

The towns of Waterville and Cambridge rejected the merger, and will continue operating their schools with independent boards. Those towns could join the district at a later point.

"Over time the other two towns may decide that it's worthwhile being part of this," says Peter Ingvoldstad, who was on the Lamoille North Act 46 study committee.

"People are afraid of change. And if their fears are not coming to fruition, the idea of them coming in, I think, becomes probably a much better chance of that happening," he said.

Districts have until July first to get a merger plan approved under the accelerated phase, and there could be more votes before the deadline.

Howard Weiss-Tisman is Vermont Public’s southern Vermont reporter, but sometimes the story takes him to other parts of the state. 
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