VERGENNES — Vergennes and Addison residents will decide on Tuesday, May 11, whether to change their minds on supporting unification of the Addison Northwest Supervisory Union under one-board governance.
Both towns joined Ferrisburgh, Panton and Waltham in voting by wide margins on March 2 to back the switch, but Vergennes and Addison petitioners successfully requested second votes.
If the earlier approval is reversed in either Addison or Vergennes, the one-board measure will fail — residents in each of the five ANwSU towns must approve any change in the union’s governing system.
Voters in all five towns did so on Town Meeting Day by an overall tally of 908-539, or 63-37 percent.
Last Tuesday, the Vergennes ID school board picked May 11 as the date for the city’s second vote, and on Wednesday the Addison Central School board followed suit. ANwSU official Sally Bushey said on Thursday that Superintendent Tom O’Brien had recommended that the boards pick the same vote date.
The boards last week also scheduled informational meetings. The Vergennes meeting will be held on Tuesday, May 4, at 6 p.m. at Vergennes Union Elementary School. The Addison board set that town’s meeting for Thursday, May 6, at 7 p.m. at the central school.
On Town Meeting Day, the vote in Vergennes favored one-board governance by 232-142, or 62-38 percent.
At the same time Addison residents voted, 197-138, or 59-41 percent, for a system that would replace the current eight boards. Three of the existing boards — the Vergennes, Panton and Waltham ID panels — will dissolve in July regardless of the one-board outcome.
Overturning the March 2 decision in a revote will require more than a simple majority. According to state statute, the vote to reverse the original decision must also “exceed two-thirds of the number of votes cast for the prevailing side.”
Thus, to change the outcome in Vergennes at least 155 residents must vote against the one-board proposal, while in Addison at least 132 residents must vote against the switch.
The proposed board to govern ANwSU would consist of 12 members, four each from Vergennes and Ferrisburgh, two from Addison, and one each from Panton and Waltham. That ratio is consistent with the communities’ representation on the Vergennes Union High School board.
Andy Kirkaldy may be reached at email@example.com.