North Bennington school closure revote setBy Patrick McArdle
STAFF WRITER | November 20,2012NORTH BENNINGTON — The new year will start with a revote on closing the North Bennington Graded School on an unconventional day for a vote as residents will be asked for the third time in less than a year about the future of their kindergarten through sixth-grade school.
The North Bennington Prudential Committee, which is the school board in the village, voted unanimously to scheduled the vote for Jan. 3. The vote will be on a Thursday although most Vermont votes take place on a Tuesday.
Raymond Mullineaux, chairman of the school board, said the vote had to scheduled no later than Jan. 12 but because a vote must be warned no more than 40 days in advance and no less than 30, the soonest the vote could be scheduled would have been just around Christmas.
“I assume nobody is going to propose that we have it on the 20th of December being five days before Christmas, a major holiday … and I assume between Christmas and New Year’s, no one is going to want it in that time period,” he said.
Gail Mauricette, the school clerk, suggested the board consider Jan. 8 to meet the legal requirements for the timing of the revote but also keep the voting on a Tuesday but Matthew Patterson, a member of the school board, said he believed the vote needed to be earlier.
The Village School of North Bennington needs approval from the Vermont Board of Education to be created but at meetings over the summer and earlier this month, board members said they wanted to be sure North Bennington voters were in favor of the change to their school.
Patterson said if the revote was done on Jan. 8 and voters supported closing the school, there would not be enough time to get it on the state school board’s agenda for March.
“By then we would be into late February and start the same game over again as last year and being accused for not having enough time,” he said.
Mauricette said scheduling the vote on a Thursday was legal but she had been advised by the Secretary of State’s office that it was unusual and she was concerned it would be confusing for voters.
“I think this whole process has been confusing,” Patterson replied.
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