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Comment Archives: Stories: News + Opinion: Education

Re: “New Bill Aims to Stop Funding Out-of-State Schools

A technical comment.

Mr. French says of residency in Vermont: ""There's no clear, qualifying standard in the law," he said. "We're left on our own."

Why not insure that residents for property tax purposes are also residents for income-tax purposes? At least that way, if they're using their Vermont residency to pay for out-of-state tuition, they'll also be paying income taxes to their new state of "residence."

Posted by JohnGreenberg on 02/09/2015 at 9:35 AM

Re: “New Bill Aims to Stop Funding Out-of-State Schools

Rep. Clarkson would like the taxpayers to pay her to meet with her constituency when she is not on active duty in Montpelier. You can tell she is from Woodstock--must live in a different atmosphere from ordinary Vermonters.

Posted by Walter Moses on 02/06/2015 at 9:57 PM

Re: “New Bill Aims to Stop Funding Out-of-State Schools

Having learned just recently about Vermont 's legal practice of funding low enrollment schools with "phantom students," people who do not even exist, in an effort to keep some schools with declining enrollments open, I am thinking 4.7 million bucks would go a long way towards helping those particular schools. District consolidation does not have to close schools. Vermont schools belong in Vermont school districts. How about changing our state's law(s) to allow those border schools in Vermont to easily join the closest district. Paying to NOT educate Vermont children in Vermont is bad enough. Paying above average rates to send any kid to an out of state school is an insult to a full-freight taxpayer such as myself. I feel like my tax dollars are being fraudulently used.

Posted by saysme on 02/05/2015 at 6:22 PM

Re: “New Bill Aims to Stop Funding Out-of-State Schools

I live in Hartland, which relies on tuitioning to provide a high school education for students in grades 9 through 12. One of the most popular high schools is Hanover High School, which is treated like a Vermont school (because it is part of an interstate district that includes Norwich) for every purpose EXCEPT this bill, which is the proverbial solution in search of a problem. Rep. Buxton says she likes the bill because "at a time when our education spending is so limited, we have to look at all the ways we're spending our education dollars." But Rep. Clarkson says her bill is not about saving money. In my judgment, this bill is just the leading edge of a longterm strategy to eliminate school choice in those districts that opted for it. We should not do this piecemeal. If our neighbors in Woodstock and Rep. Buxton's home district of Royalton want us to stop tuitioning our high school students because their students don't have that option, they should come forward with a persuasive explanation of why that is in the best interests of the families in all of our towns.

Posted by Donald Maurice Kreis on 02/05/2015 at 4:30 PM

Re: “New Bill Aims to Stop Funding Out-of-State Schools

This is really a non-issue once you start looking at it more deeply. Much of the money goes to Hanover High School which serves a significant number of Vermont students along the Connecticut River valley. Will they no longer be able to attend? What about students who live along our western edge who attend Salem, NY high school? Currently students from towns that do not operate a high school have a choice of schools to attend. Perhaps the town could try to join a school district. That has been done. Barre Town used to be a choice town but it joined the Spaulding school district in order to have a say on the school board. Remember, the greater choice for the parent, the less local control. The greater local control, the less choice.

Posted by Tom Bisson on 02/05/2015 at 2:49 PM

Re: “New Bill Aims to Stop Funding Out-of-State Schools

"It's an elitist attitude," said Komline, who serves with Clarkson on the House Ways and Means Committee. "There are a lot of people that, without the voucher, wouldn't have the opportunity to send their kids to those schools." I think giving Dorset kids the opportunity to go to elite schools out of state, when Winooski, Barre and Burlington kids can't do the same is elitist. Keeping the money in Vermont schools will benefit Vermont schools and Vermont students.

3 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by JoanS on 02/05/2015 at 9:31 AM

Re: “Popular Jericho Preschool Faces Expulsion

Something doesn't add up. Literally. I'm in the industry and work with septic contractors daily, a completely new system, if that is even needed, is typically around $30.000 at most. Where do they come up with $100,000, a number more three times a realistic amount?
Why the stringent time frame? Is the septic failure on a schedule? Something smells fishy and it's not the stream or the septic system. Should be interesting to see what that building starts getting used for and by who, after the school is gone.

5 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by FreedomToThink on 11/14/2014 at 9:09 PM

Re: “Popular Jericho Preschool Faces Expulsion

If they successfully manage to raise the $150,000 to relocate, couldn't they potentially put that money towards replacing the septic system so they can stay in the same location? It seems like that would put less pressure on the historical society because then they wouldn't have to worry about the system failing in future years and the school could continue in the same location, which would eliminate their fears. Since they're such ideal tenants, wouldn't that be preferable for the historical society as well?

11 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by Tricia Sullivan on 11/14/2014 at 2:36 AM

Re: “Low Pay, No Benefits: Adjunct Professors Might Unionize

Question: how many FT faculty are at Champlain? Can't assess the statement that '250 adjuncts teach roughtly half the courses" without knowing that.

2 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by DeeBee on 10/11/2014 at 12:21 AM

Re: “How President Barbara Vacarr Plans to Save Goddard College

Lol, look at you trolls spamming up a thread that's over a year old because of some story about an irrelevant guy in jail giving a speech put a brown stain in your underwear. You all are the joke.

1 like, 2 dislikes
Posted by Jim Lloyd on 10/06/2014 at 1:10 PM

Re: “How President Barbara Vacarr Plans to Save Goddard College

do I have to shoot a police officer to attend and/or apply from a federal prison or can I just apply normally?

3 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Evan Johnson on 10/06/2014 at 12:35 AM

Re: “How President Barbara Vacarr Plans to Save Goddard College

why would anyone of sane mind want to "save goddard". what a pathetic whatever
as you most certainly are no an institution of higher learning. maybe your muslim
Marxist Obama will grace your guest register.

3 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Pete Smolan on 10/05/2014 at 10:14 PM

Re: “How President Barbara Vacarr Plans to Save Goddard College

Well they put Goddard on the map all right. They turn out students who have no morals, have no respect for life and have no respect for the law. They do, however, think a murderous cop killer is someone who had credible things to say at their commencement. They want to turn out teachers for the county?... Good grief I would want one of their teachers educating my children. Pathetic institution.

7 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by GC Ten-Eight on 10/04/2014 at 5:14 PM

Re: “Finances Put Burlington College's Accreditation at Risk

Anyone who wanted to know something of Christine Plunkett's "leadership" skills had only to look at her associations with the debacle that was the Gailer School, where Plunkett was in charge of the finances and where general mismanagement and financial mismanagement were the order of the day. One should note that mismanagement killed that school, which is nothing but a bad memory now. My association with Burlington College was brief, but very unpalatable. The school was in bed with several local politicos, including Jonathan Leopold of the Burlington Telecom scandal. The faculty, such as it was, was a revolving door of clueless souls who wandered in unknowingly to teach part-time, unaware of what they were in for. There are a few good students but most are people who attend Burlington College simply because they could pay the tuition, and no other college would admit them. The administrators had all carved out little fiefdoms for themselves and woe unto anyone who challenged their well-guarded turf. Christine Plunkett has no academic background (she is an accountant) and had no prior experience in being the president of a college or the head of a school. This was a recipe for disaster right from the start. The fact that it is such an extravagant disaster of such convolutions is somewhat surprising, though not entirely. If it were a sitcom it might be funny, but in real life not so much.

12 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Leonard Bast on 07/31/2014 at 6:28 AM

Re: “Finances Put Burlington College's Accreditation at Risk

Unfortunately, many people are in positions of leadership who got there based on criteria other than their competence. The continuing theme is board governance; Boards are made up mainly of people who enjoy the stature of serving on a board, but have zero interest in searching for a new CEO when the current one obviously lacks the necessary skill set. The problem is not bad CEOs, many try their best and simply lack the know-how, the problem is Boards that are stacked with people who rarely discipline or take action against lousy CEOs. Each one of us knows at least one CEO that should have been fired years ago, but most Boards will let companies go bankrupt before they'll search for a competent CEO.

13 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Penelope on 07/30/2014 at 8:37 PM

Re: “Finances Put Burlington College's Accreditation at Risk

As someone who has witnessed the leadership and financial management of Ms. Plunkett, I am not surprised NEASC's confidence is not bolstered by her handling of finances. While a farce of a budget is submitted to the board of trustees ever year, it is never followed. Ask any department head what their budget is for their department is and they can't answer, because every financial decision is made one by one by the administration. Money is spent without regards to objectives, budget constraints or the college’s ability to actually pay those bills.

Plunkett and her administration have haphazardly attempted to create alternate revenue streams. Before they even finish getting one started, they are off to the next. The result being half-baked programs and events that end in failure. The Music Program and the Mighty Mozart series just being the latest victims. Before that they established a Continuing Ed program and that was so badly marketed, the majority of the classes were canceled. They toured China and hired a recruiter to recruit Chinese students to the college, which contributed zero new students. The Institute for Contemplative Studies doesn't exist. Just to name a few.

The business office and admission office have literally been revolving doors under this administration. In recent month, a flurry of staff members have quit. The staff and faculty are afraid to speak out, because anyone who has either been fired or driven out. Incompetent staff members have not only made it through all the cuts, but have been promoted based on their status of as "friend" in the us vs. them environment that exist under her leadership

The ironic part is Ms. Plunkett masterminded the departure of the former president based on issues of morale and a culture of fear. I don't think morale and fear can get much worse there than it is now.

18 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by btv-res2 on 07/30/2014 at 8:07 PM

Re: “Rubi Simon Has a Vision for Burlington's Library

If only we could bring coffee in there. That would change everything.

2 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by dolly on 07/03/2014 at 5:42 AM

Re: “Superintendent Shuffle: Why Vermont's Top Jobs in Education Turn Over So Quickly

I find it odd that so many people talk about leadership in terms of people in certain positions. Leadership is not the result of being in a position. Leadership is a choice whether or not you are in a leadership role. The abitly to assess challenges and opportunity to improve is only one part of the equation. Even a great leader can be encombered by those who are not brave enough to tackle the change we need to ultimately better prepare young Vermonters to support and reap the benefits of economic growth.

Those folks who opposed H.883 should spend some time talking to High School teachers. The teachers who are seeing the product of 9-12 years of education. They are less inhibited to tell the truth about the education system than administrators who have to be so politically correct.

Tenure doesn't equate to being a good leader. Keeping your head down to avoid conflict isn't leadership. It's self preservation. One the day after Memoial day, I shutter to think about the contrast between our leadership exhibited by our soldiers and people in leadership positions who are afraid of doing what's right.

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by Art Wolff on 05/27/2014 at 9:34 AM

Re: “Superintendent Shuffle: Why Vermont's Top Jobs in Education Turn Over So Quickly

Ah such beautiful irony. The author of an article about "not enough people" to work in education in Vermont is partnered with a person who is employed by Vermont Superintendents Association, the Vermont School Boards Association and the Vermont Principals' Association.

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by Tom A. on 05/23/2014 at 9:35 AM

Re: “Superintendent Shuffle: Why Vermont's Top Jobs in Education Turn Over So Quickly

You said it in the description of their jobs - superintendents coordinate special education, testing, transportation and make budgets.
With principals reporting to school boards and teachers governed by contracts negotiated through bargaining units, where does a superintendent's power lie?
We think of them as the heads of school systems, but the truth is, nobody reports directly to them and no one has to do what they say.
They're figureheads, they can be politicians, and they can move pieces of the budget to achieve outcomes they think are best.
But after careers in education, when they have their best ideas and are probably at their professional peak, they have control over bus schedules. Plus they go to - what did Jack McCarthy say - 150 night meetings per school year.
And when something goes wrong, whose name is always in the story? The superintendent's.
As opposed to innovative programs or year after year of crafting and meeting budgets. A superintendent is mentioned then only parenthetically.
It's not surprising that the number of people who see a superintendency as a desirable career move is dropping steeply.

4 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Gene Cassidy on 05/22/2014 at 5:21 PM

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