WCSU urges support of legislation addressing weighting factors report

TOWNSHEND — On Monday, Feb. 10, the Windham Central Super Board met to discuss the recent Pupil Weighting Factors Report released in December 2019. This is a subject which we have discussed in the past with great interest.

At the meeting by an overwhelming vote of approval, the Board charged me to write to all legislative chairs of education committees, legislative leaders, and directors of Vermont's education professional organizations on behalf of Windham Central to convey that we urge them to review the report.

We also request that you act now to do the following:

1. Implement the weights this year.

2. Make no other changes to school finance until the full Legislature has the opportunity to review and digest the complete study.

We understand that Vermont Representatives Laura Sibilia, Kelly Pajala, Carolyn Partridge, and John Gannon (among others) are introducing House bills which ask that the new weighting factors be implemented as quickly as possible. These and other efforts are being considered in the Vermont Senate.

We ask for support and votes for these efforts so that all Vermont schoolchildren will have access to educational opportunities based on a fair and even distribution of education funds and support of legislation that addresses the Pupil Weighting Factors Report.

We are asking for immediate relief, as for almost 20 years Vermont public school students have been “weighted” using a formula for which no factual basis could be determined, according to the Report.

This has meant that students living in parts of Vermont that are more rural, in which larger percentages live in poverty, and where English is less likely to be the first language have been penalized for all of this time.

We believe that it is past time to address this and establish new weighting factors, as recommended, which more equitably allow for students to have access to educational opportunity as required by the Vermont Constitution which may have been brought to light by the Brigham v. State of Vermont decision.

We, along with other members of our educational community, would welcome the opportunity to come before the Legislature to testify in person and look forward to a response at to when we should plan to do so.

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