Thank you

14956043_10154800053348313_507928364907914517_nThank you to the voters in Dover, Readsboro, Searsburg, Somerset, Stamford, Wardsboro, Whitingham for supporting my campaign and re-electing me to the Vermont House for two more years.  I appreciate the responsibility for carrying your voices to Montpelier and assisting all of those working to revitalize our region of Vermont.  I encourage you not to hesitate if I can be of assistance to you, your family or your business or if you would like to discuss an existing or proposed law.

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Just after the election, I was pleasantly surprised to be asked by Governor-elect Scott to co-chair his Transition Leadership Advisory Committee.  Having had the opportunity to hear the Governor-elect express his vision for how his incoming administration will interact with and assist Vermonters, I am truly honored to have been asked to help find the people that will be expected to carry out that vision in the new Scott Administration.

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A final note I’d like to share.  I’ve heard from a number of folks about concerns regarding tolerance of all Vermonters in light of the national campaign rhetoric and results.  I wanted to share an excerpt from one note as well as from my response.

Excerpted from a constituent email:

“You have the great responsibility and opportunity to present kindness, empathy, respect and compassion as the indisputable way to treat ALL citizens. Let those ideals guide you as you cast votes and speak with others in positions of power.”

I want to reassure the voters in our district that I will uphold the Constitution, fight bigotry and promote tolerance and acceptance of all Vermonters and Americans. Also be assured, I am not afraid to stand up to ignorance and hatred. Our Constitution provides us with freedoms and responsibilities, and I believe they apply to and for all of our people, no matter who they love, what their religion, color of skin, ethnicity, or sex.

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As always, if you need help or assistance don’t hesitate to call me at 384-0233 or email at lhsibilia@gmail.com.

Please stay in touch, and stay engaged,

Rep. Laura Sibilia
State Representative
Dover, Readsboro, Searsburg, Somerset, Stamford, Wardsboro, Whitingham

Encouraged

F576_Laura dover 73114Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you are almost certainly right.  Setting high expectations is an optimistic vote of confidence that a goal is achievable.  I’m honored to represent so many people, school districts, businesses and towns that “think they can” and possess the Vermont optimism which allows us to take on big challenges without fear.  I’m honored that these same folks “thought I could” and elected me as their representative two years ago.  Representing a rural district heavily impacted by the recession and Irene, I have been immensely encouraged by the collaborations, recovery and growth we are seeing in our district.  Stamford reaching out to work with Readsboro on improving internet service, Searsburg and Stratton working to partner on Act 46 to keep school choice for their students, Dover working for years with neighboring Wilmington to finally complete the Valley trail connecting villages and resorts or Dover and Wardsboro working together to determine if they can offer their students more opportunities.  And of course the long term efforts of Whitingham and our neighbors in Wilmington to keep and improve their schools.

Two years ago I decided to run to make sure all of that collaboration and effort happening locally also had a hard working champion in Montpelier.   Whether it was working to have southern Vermont  identified as a special economic development zone in need of additional investment and re-population measures, challenging the federal government to ensure it’s broadband stimulus funds were actually providing internet service to our towns, or negotiating in protections for our small schools and having anti choice provisions stripped from Act 46, my efforts, every day, have been laser focused on helping our district.  As the State Representative for Dover, Readsboro, Searsburg, Somerset, Stamford, Wardsboro and Whitingham it has been my intent to provide you with the type of representation I expect for myself: ethical, transparent, responsible, accountable, and non-partisan.  I ask for your support of my re-election as your State Representative, and your continued belief and effort to working together and continue to move our Deerfield Valley forward.

Vermont Board of Ed looking at choice tuition dollars

Back in September I noted that the State Board of Education had elected to begin looking at the rules allowing independent and private schools to access public dollars:

5988599“With regard to the various levels of school choice that currently exist in the Valley, Section 4 of Act 46 specifically states that compliant districts cannot be forced to give up their existing school choice and that nothing in the Act is intended to take away school choice.  It is important to note that a school district’s voters still have the ability to decide to change or alter school choice.  The State Board of Education has elected to begin looking at the existing rules which allow independent and private schools to access public dollars.  The Vermont School Boards Association, of which I am a board member, has testified that independent schools should be required to be held to a number of the same standards as public schools.   A change in the rules of how independent/private schools can access public funding would require public meetings.   To monitor this discussion, watch meetings, read materials and minutes presented at meetings go to http://education.vermont.gov/state-board

The SBE is now considering a rule which would require independent and private schools to meet ALL of the requirements of public schools.  This is a dramatic change, using a dramatic method in a period of massive system change in our education governance via Act 46.

Regions which have a larger number of districts with school choice have been slow to implement Act 46.  In particular, many of the more rural and mountainous regions of Southern Vermont and the Northeast Kingdom have not yet voted on new governance changes, despite continual compliance efforts since Act 46 implementation. The timing of this far reaching rule change is hard to understand given Act 46 specifically providing communities that have school choice the option to keep it.  Changing the game on communities working to implement this sweeping legislation is unacceptable.  Doing so without having any sense of the impacts on kids is inexcusable.

Rep. Oliver Olsen of Londonderry has sent a formal request to the state board and the rules committee seeking a delay in the rule making process until a number of impact analysis can be undertaken.  I wholeheartedly support this request.

If this rule making continues forward, public hearings will be required prior to adoption of the new rules. I will keep you apprised of this hearing or hearings and ask that you please be prepared to attend and testify.

I am incredibly proud of the work our communities are doing to assess if there are more opportunities for their kids by complying with Act 46.  This action by the state board should not deter our communities from completing the work called for in Act 46.

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Please remember that the Agency of Education (NOT the State Board) will be at Twin Valley Middle High School in Whitingham at 5:30 pm on Thursday November 3rd to explain to the communities the resources available to help with the Act 46 process and getting the WSWSU Articles of Agreement accepted.

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As always, if you need help or assistance don’t hesitate to call me at 384-0233 or email at lhsibilia@gmail.com.

Vermont’s state election consequences

imageI was talking to a young twenty-something at a breakfast last weekend and asked her if she was registered to vote. Not yet she said. I’ve known her she was little and so I pressed a bit. She then patiently explained to me that she is thoroughly disgusted by the presidential election, and that really, living in Vermont, her vote won’t count anyway.

I’ve been trying to figure out when people started believing that choosing not to vote would have no consequences? That we are all powerless pawns in a corrupt system and all attempts to change the system will fail. That turning away and ignoring the ugliness might make it disappear. Or worse, that we have no power, no voice. Where did that hopelessness and cynicism come from?  How is it that so many Americans willingly choose not to vote.

Elections have consequences. And every vote does matter. When TJ and I got married just after the November 2000 election, we didn’t know if George Bush or Al Gore had won the election because it was that close. When I was elected in 2014, I beat the incumbent by 39 votes. We’d both like to let you know that each one of those 39 votes mattered a whole lot, and there were real consequences to that election. Among those consequences was the fact that I had to cast a single vote for governor representing all of the people in all of my towns because the governor’s race was also too close, and so the legislature had to elect the governor.

There were other consequences of the close elections in 2014, including finally having this district’s interests, rather than national interests, as the focus of your representative’s effort in Montpelier. Rather than our neighbor’s being told they just have to “deal with it because they live in Vermont…” regarding poor broadband and cell service, because of that close election, they have begun to be empowered with information and resources and connections to finally start making some headway in our smallest towns. Full and part-time residents in our valley also have had a much better idea of what is going on with legislation and how they can weigh in, because of that close election.

It matters if you vote this year. Vermont is definitely getting a new Governor as Governor Shumlin is not running. We are also getting a new Lieutenant Governor, and though many may think the position is of little consequence, that office has a great deal of weight in the running of the Senate.

Elections have consequences. Not voting has consequences. And every vote does matter. Vote for our local races and our new Governor, and your state rep. Vote for our servicemembers, and for our kids, and for our nation’s future. Yes, it is ugly out there, but it really matters.
You can register to vote at your town clerk’s office or online with the Vermont Secretary of State. And you can vote now, or request an absentee ballot, or at the polls on November 8th.

SoVT All-Payer presentation, Minter and Scott holding forums in the Valley

letters
There are a couple of important opportunities for you to weigh in on our state’s future happening in Southern Vermont in the next two weeks – I encourage you to attend those events you can, ask questions, and share your experiences.
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Draft all-payer waiver agreement presentations
Southern Vermont Forum announced
  • Tuesday, Oct. 11, 4-6 p.m. CVPS/Leahy Community Health Education Center, Rutland Regional Medical Center, 160 Allen Street, Rutland
  • Wednesday, October 12, 9:30 – 11:30 a.m. Brattleboro Retreat Conference Room, 16 Anna Marsh Ln, Brattleboro
A public forum will be held with Al Gobeille, Chairman of the Green Mountain Care Board, Governor Peter Shumlin, Lawrence Miller, Chief of Health Care from the Governor’s Office, and Robin Lunge, Director of Health Care Reform to present a draft of the All-Payer Model, Vermont’s  health care reform proposal. The draft proposal is under review and is expected to be amended before it receives the final approval of Governor Peter Shumlin, Agency of Human Services Secretary Hal Cohen, Chairman Gobeille, and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) . The forum is designed to present the plan to the public and those involved in Vermont’s health care system, and to take questions and comments from the audience.

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Meet with Laura in Stamford 

Wednesday October 12th in Stamford at 7 pm at the Stamford Elementary School gym.  Looking forward to meeting with residents in Stamford to discuss the upcoming legislative session.  Hope to see you there!

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Economic Forums with candidates for Governor: Phil Scott and Sue Minter – hosted by the Southern Vermont Deerfield Valley Chamber and Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation

 

October 13th – Q&A forum regarding the Vermont economy with gubernatorial candidate Phil Scott
Time: 1:30-2:30
Venue: Dover Town Hall (adjacent to the Dover Free Library)
Moderated by Joe Arnold and brought to you by the BDCC and the Southern Vermont Deerfield Valley Chamber of Commerce
October 19th – Q&A forum regarding the Vermont economy with gubernatorial candidate Sue Minter.
Time: 1:30-2:30
Venue: Memorial Hall – Route 9 Wilmington, Vermont
Moderated by Joe Arnold and brought to you by the BDCC and the Southern Vermont Deerfield Valley Chamber of Commerce

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Next Dover, Marlboro, Wardsboro Act 46 study committee meetings October 13th, 6:30 PM at Marlboro Elementary School.  Website posted with agendas, minutes and videos at http://wcsu-committee.blogspot.com/

Candidates Forums The Deerfield Valley Rotary and the Wardsboro Public Library have arranged two candidate forums where both I and my challenger will appear and answer questions from the audience.  This is an important opportunity to ask questions and hear the answers from both candidates.  Voters from Dover, Readsboro, Searsburg, Somerset, Stamford, Wardsboro,

Whitingham should feel welcome to attend either or both of these forums.
  • Thursday October 20th 7 pm at the
    Dover Town Hall
  • Friday October 28th 7pm at the Wardsboro Public Library

VtDigger has just published a piece which does a great job reflecting both my priorities and the priorities of my challenger which you may wish to consider as you research our campaigns and positions in advance of these forums and election day November 8th.

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Support Laura’s re-election

Thank you very much for the financial, volunteer, sign hosting and letters to the editor support to date as I seek re-election to continue representing Dover, Readsboro, Searsburg, Somerset, Stamford, Wardsboro and Whitingham. There is an important campaign finance reporting date coming up on Saturday Oct, 15th.

I have had to turn multiple campaign contributions away because as your independent state representative I continue to choose not to accept support from special interests, political parties or political action committees.

Unfortunately, special interests, political parties and political action committees are once again funding opposition to my campaign. And that is going to increase now with the end of the campaign in sight. I appreciate any level of support my constituents might be able to provide – every $10, $25 or $50 helps a lot! Donating is easy online here:https://laurasibiliavt.com/help-send-lauras-voice-to-montpelier/

Letter’s to the Editor are also a great way to show support and tell other voters why they should re-elect me.  Most of our towns read the Deerfield Valley News where support letters go to editor@vermontmedia.com with the exception of Stamford where folks would send support letters to the Berkshire Eagle directed to news@berkshireeagle.com

As always, if you need help or assistance don’t hesitate to call me at 384-0233 or email at lhsibilia@gmail.com.

Kind regards,
Rep. Laura Sibilia
State Representative
Dover, Readsboro, Searsburg, Somerset, Stamford, Wardsboro, Whitingham

Legislative updates and upcoming candidate forums

October 3, 2016

Dear friends and neighbors,

A few legislative updates and some upcoming candidate events:

Act 46
I recently posted an update about Act 46 and education reform taking place in the Valley.  This post includes links to the law, guidance from the AOE, and updates from other parts of Vermont, and so I am posting it again to maintain that link to information for voters, taxpayers and parents.  Readers may have recently read in this past weeks Deerfield Valley News that the draft articles of agreement submitted by the WSSU have been sent back for further development. I have been in touch with the Agency of Education, the Vermont School Boards Association and elected and contracted supervisory leadership regarding next steps for the districts.   There are significant untapped resources that are still available to provide assistance to the districts as they work to comply with the requirements of Act 46. I am working to help the supervisory union’s districts access them. Please stay involved in these historic and important conversations about the future of education in the valley.

The WCSU elementary school study committee has a website to track materials being considered, agendas and minutes http://wcsu-committee.blogspot.com/

Draft all-payer waiver agreement

On Wednesday of last week the Shumlin Administration announced they had reached an agreement with the federal government on a draft all-payer model for delivering healthcare.  In the current healthcare system, providers get paid for each service they give.  In an all-payer system, doctors will be paid monthly based on the health of the people they treat.
This is not the same as “single-payer” which references the number of entities (one public entity) paying healthcare providers.
On Friday the locations for three public forums were announced for this coming week, with Gov. Peter Shumlin, Human Services Secretary Hal Cohen and Al Gobeille, Chairman of the Green Mountain Care Board, to present a draft of the All-Payer Model. The draft proposal is under review and is expected to be amended before it receives the final approval of the Governor, Secretary Cohen, Chairman Gobeille, and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) . The hearings are designed to present the plan to the public and those involved in Vermont’s health care system, and to take questions and comments from the audience.
  • Monday, Oct. 3, 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. Montshire Museum of Science Nonprofit Community Room, One Montshire Road, Norwich
  • Thursday, Oct. 6, 4-6 p.m. University of Vermont Recital Hall, 384 South Prospect St., Burlington
  • Tuesday, Oct. 11, 4-6 p.m. CVPS/Leahy Community Health Education Center, Rutland Regional Medical Center, 160 Allen Street, Rutland
When these dates for public comment were announced on Friday at 2:40 pm, I placed a call to the Governor’s office inquiring about the lack of notice, and also accessibility to Southern Vermonters.  If any new dates should be noticed, I will send those out.  If recent history has taught us anything it is that we should be thorough and thoughtful about changes to Vermonters healthcare.

Meet with Laura

It has been wonderful talking with you as I have been going out door to door during this campaign season, thank you for the time you are taking to tell me your concerns and hear from me about why I want to be re-elected as your state representative.

I have been out making my way through the district, and have also scheduled additional times for voters to talk with me in person. This is a great opportunity to ask questions and also tell me about issues or priorities you, your business or your town may have.

Questions at recent sessions have ranged from marijuana legalization to community policing, healthcare, school choice and taxes.  Next meet up sessions are:Wednesday October 5th in Wardsboro at 7 pm – Wardsboro Town Hall

Wednesday October 12th in Stamford at 7 pm at the Stamford Elementary School gym

Candidates Forums

 

The Deerfield Valley Rotary and the Wardsboro Public Library have arranged two candidate forums where both I and my challenger will appear and answer questions from the audience.  This is an important opportunity to ask questions and hear the answers from both candidates.  Voters from Dover, Readsboro, Searsburg, Somerset, Stamford, Wardsboro, Whitingham should feel welcome to attend either or both of these forums.

  • Thursday October 20th 7 pm at the
    Dover Town Hall
  • Friday October 28th 7pm at the Wardsboro Public Library
Support Laura’s re-election

Thank you very much for the financial, volunteer, sign hosting and letters to the editor support to date as I seek re-election to continue representing Dover, Readsboro, Searsburg, Somerset, Stamford, Wardsboro and Whitingham.

I have had to turn campaign contributions away because as your independent state representative I continue to choose not to accept support from special interests, political parties or political action committees.

Unfortunately, special interests, political parties and political action committees are once again funding opposition to my campaign. And that is going to increase now with the end of the campaign in sight. I appreciate any level of support my constituents might be able to provide – every $10, $25 or $50 helps a lot! Donating is easy online here:https://laurasibiliavt.com/help-send-lauras-voice-to-montpelier/

Letter’s to the Editor are also a great way to show support and tell other voters why they should re-elect me.  Most of our towns read the Deerfield Valley News where support letters go to editor@vermontmedia.com with the exception of Stamford where folks would send support letters to the Berkshire Eagle directed to news@berkshireeagle.com

As always, if you need help or assistance don’t hesitate to call me at 384-0233 or email at lhsibilia@gmail.com.

Kind regards,
Rep. Laura Sibilia
State Representative
Dover, Readsboro, Searsburg, Somerset, Stamford, Wardsboro, Whitingham
The Official Vermont State Vegetable!

October 22, 2016  — Saturday
14th Annual Gilfeather Turnip Festival     

All Day   Live entertainment in Town Hall and outdoors

and Gilfeather Turnip Contest

SCHEDULE OF EVENTS:

9AM  Gilfeather Turnip Art show opens at the Library, 170 Main Street, closes at 1 PM

10 AM  Festival Opens – Indoor & Outdoor Vendors Booths, Farmers Market
10 AM  Turnip Cart Selling Fresh Turnips
10 to 11 AM  Coffee & Donut Kiosk
10 AM to Noon  Register Turnips for the Turnip Contest
11 AM  Cafe & outdoor kiosk open for lunch & soup take-out
Noon   Deadline to Enter and Judging of Turnip Contest
1 PM   Turnip Contest Awards announced in Town Hall

Rep. Manwaring endorses Sibilia for re-election

Ann has been a trusted friend and mentor for almost 20 years – I am grateful I was able to serve my first term while she was still in the House and I will miss her in the coming years.  I’m honored to have her endorsement.  Even though we have occasionally disagreed on policy, we have always been a united team in our dedication to high quality education, helping the people of our little valley towns and the great state of Vermont!

September 13, 2016
To the Editor:

Summer is over way too fast and it is now election season for real, and even though many of us believe that our national election can’ t be over soon enough, we do have local elections which are important to all of us.  Early voting has started where we can now ask our Town Clerks for absentee ballots either by mail or by stopping by the Town offices.

Laura and Ann at last weeks legislative issues forum in Dover

Laura and Ann discussing the upcoming session at last weeks legislative issues forum in Dover.

As you consider whom to vote for to represent you in the Vermont House of Representatives for the next two years, I would like to share with you that I support the re-election of Laura Sibilia to serve for another term Representing Voters in Dover, Wardsboro, Searsburg, Sommerset, Readsboro and Stamford and a portion of Whitingham.

Even before Laura was elected to Represent your District two years ago she and I had worked extensively on issues concerning Vermont’s education system, specifically issues that affect our small rural communities.  It won’t surprise any one reading this that Vermont public education and its financing framework is a complex system, and sometimes we were able to shape good things and sometimes the job was to keep bad things from happening. There is so much more work to do, and I have enormous respect for her knowledge, understanding and commitment to keep this issue in the forefront on her time and energy in Montpelier.

But that’s not all.  In addition she takes to Montpelier her considerable experience and skills around economic development in Windham and Bennington Counties.

Laura hit the ground running in her first term, and I believe the voters in her District would be well served by sending her back to Montpelier for a second term.  I am sorry I won’t be returning to Montpelier, but I hope to continue to work with her from home.

Thank your for your consideration.

Sincerely,

Ann Manwaring, Representing the neighboring

District of Halifax, Whitingham and Wilmington

Act 46 update– Rep. Laura Sibilia

Many will recall that Acts 60 of 1997 and Act 68 of 2003 were the result of the Vermont Supreme Court having struck down the previous state-funding system and directing the legislature to come up with a new system that would eliminate the inequities among the local school districts.  The legislature did this by establishing a statewide property tax to pay for the education of all students.  The rationale was that towns with wealthy grand lists – lots of businesses and second home owners – could spend more on their students then towns with very few businesses or second home owners on their grand list.  The financing mechanism created by Act 60 put in place put an equalized property tax of all properties in Vermont, income sensitized it for residents and over time the legislature has enacted policies to narrow the gap between education spending per pupil between communities, with the goal of promoting greater equity.

act46 bridgeAct 46, the “Unification” plan for school districts was passed during the 2015 session and its general premise was to reduce inequities across the state by asking individual districts that operate the same grades, to partner with their neighbors and form bigger units.  If you and I join our school boards together, now your students and my students become “our students” and we will ensure that “our students” have the same opportunities.  There are obvious questions here about why the massive increases in education spending spurred by Act 60 did not fix the inequity of opportunity problem that spawned the Brigham lawsuit.   While that discussion has by no means ended, it is not the subject of this column.   With this update I intend to provide parents, residents (full time and weekend) and businesses with information about how to keep track of the Act 46 education reform which is taking shape through our valley.

To start, I am maintaining a page with links about the law Act 46, guidance provided by the Agency of Education and the Vermont School Boards Association on my website at https://laurasibiliavt.com/act-46/

act 46 map

The Vermont School Boards Association maintains an interactive map of progress with links to Act 46 study committees work around the state http://www.vtvsba.org/#!act-46-map/q4i59

Act 46 implementation progress across Vermont is happening unevenly – since the passage of Act 46 there have been a number of district merger votes, but none yet in southern Vermont and only a few successful votes in the Northeast Kingdom.  This is likely due to a number of factors including topography, distance, population, economy, more variations in how schools operate and more variations in choice then in the Champlain Valley.  Though there have been no votes in southern Vermont, work is being done, and in our valley work has been underway since the passage of Act 46.

We have two Supervisory Unions for the greater Deerfield Valley area.  Windham Southwest Supervisory Union (WSSU) includes the joint contract districts of Wilmington and Whitingham which provide K-12 education for all of their students, Halifax, Readsboro and Stamford which maintain K-8 schools and offer school choice for students in 9-12 and Searsburg which has choice for students K-12.  Windham Central Supervisory Union (WCSU) includes Leland and Gray Union High School whose member towns Jamaica, Newfane, Brookline, Townshend and Windham all send their middle and high school students to.  Each of those sending schools also maintain a K-6 elementary school.  Also in Windham Central Supervisory Union are Dover and Wardsboro school districts which maintain K-6 schools with school choice for students 7-12, and Marlboro which operates a K-8 with choice fro grades 9-12.

The WSSU has submitted articles of agreement to the Vermont Agency of Education for Stamford, Readsboro and Halifax school districts to merge governance (boards and budgets).  If the Agency approves those articles, they will then be put to a vote in each town.  The WSSU vote is currently slated for this November.  You can monitor the WSSU activity at http://www.windhamsw.k12.vt.us/

Over the summer, two study committees have formed in the WCSU.  One is considering combining all of the boards and budgets of the Leland and Gray Union towns and the other is considering the consolidation of boards and budgets in Dover, Marlboro and Wardsboro.  These study groups are working towards a timeline that would have a vote in the towns at or around Town Meeting day in March 2017.  You can monitor the WCSU activity, including videotaped study committee meetings, at http://www.windhamcentral.org/home

In the WSSU and the WCSU there are also two non-operating districts, Searsburg and Stratton who have been engaged in discussions with other non-operating districts in other Supervisory Unions about consolidating their boards and budgets.

School districts that do not merge with another school district are required to propose they operate as an alternative district.  The State Board of Education has recently provided guidance for districts that are considering this path forward.  The requirements for proposing an alternative structure are stricter then proposing a merging of boards and budgets.  The guidance for districts that do not voluntarily merge can be found here http://education.vermont.gov/documents/edu-sbe-guidance-alternative-structures-act46-7-2016.pdf

With regard to the various levels of school choice that currently exist in the Valley, Section 4 of Act 46 specifically states that compliant districts cannot be forced to give up their existing school choice and that nothing in the Act is intended to take away school choice.  It is important to note that a school district’s voters still have the ability to decide to change or alter school choice.  The State Board of Education has elected to begin looking at the existing rules which allow independent and private schools to access public dollars.  The Vermont School Boards Association, of which I am a board member, has testified that independent schools should be required to be held to a number of the same standards as public schools.   A change in the rules of how independent/private schools can access public funding would require public meetings.   To monitor this discussion, watch meetings, read materials and minutes presented at meetings go to http://education.vermont.gov/state-board

Very important conversations and votes about how we think about and provide for the education of students in the Valley are happening.  There is no greater reflection of our community’s vitality and values then how we provide for our children’s education.  Please join me in participating in as many of these conversations as possible and ensuring the Valley maintains high quality education for all of our students.

 

Pancakes & Issues September 10

F576_Laura dover 73114

Pancakes and Issues with State Representative Laura Sibilia

September 10, 2016 Dover Town Hall 8:30 am -10 am

State Representative Laura Sibilia will be hosting a breakfast discussion on current and upcoming Vermont legislative topics on Saturday, September 10th from 8:30 am to 10 am at the Dover Town Hall located at 183 Taft Brook Road, Dover, VT.

In November 2016, Vermonters will elect a new Governor, Lieutenant Governor and a number of new legislators who will, in turn, elect a new Speaker of the House and Senate President.  Items that will be waiting for this newly elected leadership include addressing an economy struggling to maintain an adequate supply of workers, the second year of education reform implementation (Act 46), a federally required cleanup of Lake Champlain and ensuring we have sustainable funding for Vermont’s health care reforms.  Advocates have indicated that in 2016 they will also be pushing for legislation supporting paid family leave, universal background checks and marijuana legalization.

Rep. Sibilia is an independent representing the towns, residents and businesses of Dover, Readsboro, Searsburg, Somerset, Stamford, Wardsboro, Whitingham in the Vermont House of Representatives.  She serves on the House Commerce and Economic Development Committee.  During the 2015/16 legislative biennium she lead efforts to request a federal investigation into why 100 million dollars in federal stimulus funds, awarded in 2009, has failed to bring wireless broadband to most of her district and to 30,000 other unserved Vermonters.  Sibilia also worked to establish and fund the Southern Vermont Economic Development Zone and established a small schools caucus in the Vermont House.

The discussion is free and open to the public.  Donations to offset the cost of the breakfast will be accepted. For more information on Rep. Laura Sibilia or her re-election campaign, visit www.laurasibiliavt.com

Forum on Regional and Municipal Energy Planning

Survey Available Now to Help Inform Draft Standards

Montpelier ­– The Department of Public Service invites all interested Vermonters to provide input on the standards the Department must create per Act 174 of 2016 for determining consistency of regional and municipal plans with state energy policy. The Department will host a forum to gather input on August 30, from 9 a.m. to noon, in Montpelier at the Vermont College of Fine Arts (Noble Hall). For those who prefer to provide input in writing, the Department has published an online survey, available at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/WMTZFF2. Responses to the survey are due September 5, and those received by August 25 will help inform the discussion at the forum on the 30th. The Department expects to release an initial draft of the standards later in September for additional public comment.

Act 174 is intended to improve regional and town energy planning and to enhance community input into the siting of energy projects. The legislation provides regional planning commissions and towns with a greater voice before the Public Service Board when their plans have been determined to be consistent with state energy policy. The Department of Public Service must issue final standards by November 1, 2016.

For planning purposes and in order to provide participants with additional details and parking permits, the Department is asking those wishing to attend the August 30 forum to RSVP. Please RSVP by August 16 by sending an email with your name, contact information, and the subject line “August 30 RSVP” to PSD.PlanningStandards@vermont.gov. For more information on the Department’s activities pursuant to Act 174 recommendations and determination standards, please visit http://publicservice.vermont.gov/content/act-174-recommendations-and-determination-standards.

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Vermont Public Service Department

112 State Street

Montpelier, Vermont 05620-2601

Visit the Department at: http://publicservice.vermont.gov/