Gail Callahan, School Board Correspondent
The Champlain Valley School District board has, as of July 1, fully replaced the individual Chittenden South Supervisory Union boards. Voters approved the merger of the six independent school districts into one body in June 2016 after the CSSU Union Act 46 Study Merger Committee supported the unification of the district based on educational and financial benefits.
Before the merger, CSSU had 34 school board members who sat on the Champlain Valley Union High School, the CSSU panel and the individual CSSU governing bodies that oversaw the running of their individual districts. The vote to approve the merger changed the makeup of that board. The CVSD Board has 12 school directors: four from Williston, three from Shelburne, two each from Charlotte and Hinesburg and one from St. George. The individual boards representing those towns worked for about 13 months independently following the vote to consolidate.
In addition to the change in school board membership, study committee members also outlined tax incentive savings the merger brings. Jeanne Jensen of Williston sat formerly on the CVU School Board and also was on the merger study committee. Jensen, who now works as the chief operations officer for the district, pointed out that the five communities that comprised CSSU were on tap to receive five-year tax incentives.
One of the most challenging aspects of the consolidation stemmed from questions regarding how the consolidated district would handle repairs to school buildings that are spread across the newly created district.
This was highlighted when board members met this July 19 at the central office in Shelburne to award an array of contracts for construction projects in Williston and Charlotte, as well as for the CVU library renovation. In Williston, the board awarded an $895,823 roofing contract to AC Hawthorne and a $198,016 exterior metal siding contract to Brusco Contracting. It also awarded a $139,600 PCB abatement contract to AAC Contracting, along with a commissioning services contract to CX Associates for the amount up to $32,750.
Turning to CVU, the board voted to award a $22,500 library renovation contract to Metro Walls.
Then school directors awarded a $34,125 carpet replacement contract to New England Floor Covering for the Charlotte Central School library and a $27,175 contract for the 1939 Charlotte Central School building roof to Friends Construction.