A Vermont Supreme Court Brigham decision and followup legislation was supposed to make poor towns as able to offer good schools as the rich towns. But in reality, it’s the small towns feeling the squeeze, Addison Independent publisher Angelo Lynn writes.
“Indeed, the primary question facing Vermonters on this issue is whether the Vermont legislature will come to the aid of rural Vermont, or whether it will allow small, rural towns to wither; death, such as it is, by a thousand tiny cuts. It’s been happening for decades; the question is how far will it go, how small is too small?
Nor are there proven solutions, nor does Vermont have the funds to spend its way out of this problem. We could perhaps take statewide measures to slow the trend; district charters could be changed to give small schools new life; small towns could develop local incentives to attract more young families therefore increasing the number of students and state aid to those schools at, roughly, $18,000 per pupil. But without a concerted statewide effort, small towns are in for a rough ride if current trends hold over the next several years.