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State Board Of Ed Will Look At Private School Rules Friday

The State Board of Education met Tuesday at the Agency of Education in Barre.

Members of the State Board of Education will meet Friday to talk about proposed changes to the rules governing independent schools.

The board members drafted rules changes last year that they now admit were ambiguous and overly broad.

The original wording said private schools would have to comply with all state and federal education laws. Members of the independent school community said the proposed changes would be costly, and would impact Vermont's school choice system.

At a meeting of the State Board of Education Tuesday, chairman Stephan Morse said the board has been meeting with stakeholders on both sides of the issue.

"As you well know, the rules have been very controversial," Morse said. "There's a fair amount of hate out there on them, but the committee is trying to diligently and cooperatively work with the various players to see if we can find a solution."

The proposed rules require independent schools that use public money to accept all special ed students.

And the new rules would also require independent schools to increase their financial reporting.

Morse said the state board accepted input from the Vermont Independent Schools Association, the Vermont School Boards Association and the Vermont Superintendents Association.

Morse says a committee will review those comments Friday and try to tweak the proposed rule changes.

He says the State Board of Education will then review the new rules in February or March before passing them over to the Interagency Committee on Administrative Rules, and then the Legislative Committee on Administrative Rules.

Once those committees approve the rules, a public comment period will start which Morse says will include a number of hearings around the state.

He says the whole process could take up to nine months before the rules are finalized.

The state rules governing independent schools have not been updated since 2001.


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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