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COVID-19 complicates school district governance

BRATTLEBORO—The COVID-19 virus is not just affecting the current school year. It is also affecting the Windham Southeast School District’s plans for the new school year.

The school district’s annual meeting, scheduled for March 17, was cancelled due in part to Gov. Phil Scott’s ban on gatherings of more than 50 people, which has since been restricted to 10 people. On March 24, the governor, by executive order, enacted further restrictions that effectively prohibit non-essential in-person meetings.

Until residents can meet, they cannot vote on the district’s fiscal year 2021 budget, which will fund schools in Brattleboro, Dummerston, Guilford, and Putney.

“We’re trying to think about how we can continue our interviewing and hiring for next year, but that’s contingent on the budget passing,” Academy School Principal Kelly Dias said.

Lyle Holiday — whose tenure as superintendent started with the controversial Act 46 and will end with a global pandemic — said district-wide she anticipates 24 retirements at the end of the current 2019-20 school year, including her own.

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Originally published in The Commons issue #554 (Wednesday, March 25, 2020). This story appeared on page A3.

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