Since 2009, Stowe, Morristown, and Elmore have been studying various forms of governance options through four formal committee processes, including two 706b studies, the most recent of which resulted in a successful merger between Elmore and Morristown in 2016. Discussions between Stowe and Elmore-Morristown Unified Union around Act 46 began more than 19 months ago, and the two districts jointly agreed to pursue an Alternative Structure in the spring of 2016. Since that time, board members have been working with the administration to conduct a comprehensive self-evaluation—the basis of the proposal. The March 22, 2017 meeting continued board analysis of the required data, including a deep dive into enrollment and demographic trends. The boards also requested that the administration provide options for outside consultation and associated costs.
The boards expect to complete data analysis and a first draft this spring, at which point input will be solicited from 1) legal review (to coincide with the end of the legislative session when rules and changes to the law will be final), 2) the community, and 3) preliminary review with the Agency of Education. Once that input has been incorporated, the boards expect to ratify the proposal and submit to the Secretary of Education by November 2017.
At the state level, board members are closely watching the progressions of Rule 3400, pertaining to the proposal for Alternative Structures, and S.122, an act relating to increasing flexibility for school district mergers.
The next joint meeting of Elmore-Morristown Unified Union and Stowe to continue the self-evaluation work will take place on April 26, 2017. The agenda and location will be posted closer to the meeting date; however, a general work plan can be found at www.lamoillesouthsu.org.