Petition for reconsideration filed in North Bennington school closure
By Patrick McArdle
Staff Writer | November 13,2012
NORTH BENNINGTON - After a vote to close the North Bennington Graded School passed by 26 votes in October, a petition, which has 130 signatures may force a second revote, making three votes total, on replacing the public school with an independent school.
Gail Mauricette, school clerk for North Bennington, said a petition calling for a revote had been submitted to her on Tuesday. State law requires a petition calling for a revote have the signatures of 5 percent of registered voters.
For a vote in the North Bennington school district which includes the village and parts of the town of Shaftsbury, Mauricette said a successful petition would have needed about 80 signatures. However, she said she had not yet had a chance to check all the signatures and make sure the names match up with the voter checklist.
Joyce Scarey, who turned in the petitions on Tuesday, said she believed the people who signed them wanted the school to remain a public school and not become a private school.
In March, voters overwhelmingly approved ballot questions on Town Meeting Day that would have allowed the school board in North Bennington, called the North Bennington Prudential Committee, to close the school and lease the building and its equipment to the board of trustees for an independent school called the Village School of North Bennington.
Independent schools must be approved by the Vermont Board of Education which tabled the request in May.
Over the summer, the school board decided to continue operation of the public school. Because the vote in March included language about closing the public school at the end of the 2011-12 school year, school board members said they believed they would need a new vote before moving forward with their plans.
The state school board also said they would need a second vote before approving the independent school to be sure it had voter support.
The October vote had two questions, both of which needed to pass in order for the public school to close. The first question, asking if the voters would give the school board permission to close the school, passed with 52.3 percent of the voters supporting the question in a 294-268 vote.