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RVUSD Origin Story

The Creation of the RVUSD

Act 46 of 2015 provided opportunities for school districts to unify existing disparate governance structures into sustainable systems of education delivery that are designed to meet identified State goals while recognizing and reflecting local priorities.

Act 46 established a multi-year process with incentives for communities that voluntarily merge into the most common governance models. The Act created or incorporated three incentivized phases for voluntary mergers: Accelerated Mergers (Phase 1); REDs or RED variations (Phase 2); and Conventional Mergers (Phase 3).

A plan to include Marlboro, Dover and Wardsboro in a combined district was considered. However, Marlboro rejected the move as it's residents voiced concern about losing 7th and 8th grade classes within their building. Given that Marlboro was an "advisory" participant, their inclusion was not necessary for the new district to take shape; Dover and Wardsboro werer condisered "necessary" as neighboring districts that offered K-6 classes.

Votes at annual town meeting day on March 7, 2017, held in each town yielded differing results. Dover residents voted in favor of the combined district, Wardsboro voted against the resolution (79-62) despite support from Wardsboro's School Board. A citizen led petition initiated a second vote in Wardsboro, which was held on May 1, 2017, and required two-thirds of the prevailing side's original number of votes, per Vermont Statute, for the reconsideration to pass. The second vote in Wardsboro overwhelmingly (98-57) supported the merger and so began the creation of the River Valleys Unified School District.

The two schools were combined voluntarily under Phase 3, Conventional Merger, as outlined by the Agency of Education since each school provided educational services to students in grades Pre K-6. Once the vote was finalized, the elected School Board Directors, three from each town, joined forces to reorganize the board (chair, vice chair, etc.), create and instutute Articles of Agreement, Policies and Procedures and develop a budget for implementation for fiscal year 2020 which officially started on July 1, 2019.