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Title 16: Education

Chapter 011: UNION SCHOOLS AND SCHOOL DISTRICTS AND JOINT SCHOOLS

  • Subchapter 001: GENERALLY; CONTRACTS BETWEEN DISTRICTS
  • § 571. Contracts to construct and operate joint schools

    By a majority vote of the voters present and voting at a meeting, duly warned for that purpose, a town school district or incorporated school district may authorize its school directors to enter into a contract or contracts with other towns and parties for the financing, construction, maintenance, and operation of a competent school or schools to provide means and facilities for the convenient and adequate development, education, and training of the youth of such town.

  • § 572. Joint boards for joint, contract, or consolidated schools

    (a) The control of joint, contract, or consolidated schools, set up by two or more school districts, shall be vested in a joint school board from such school districts, and such board shall be chosen in the manner hereinafter provided for and for the purpose of this section, a joint, contract, or consolidated school board shall be referred to as a joint board.

    (b) The joint board shall have full authority to act on all matters pertaining to the finance, location, construction, maintenance, and operation of schools set up as joint, contract, or consolidated schools, including the selection and hiring of teachers.

    (c) The joint board shall consist of members chosen annually from the duly elected school boards of the school districts, each school district board electing a member or members to the joint board from among its own members.

    (d) Unless the school districts that are parties to the contract have agreed upon a different method of allocating board members that is consistent with law, the allocation of the board members shall be as provided in this subsection. The school district with the largest number of pupils attending the joint, contract, or consolidated school shall have three members on the joint board. Each other school district shall have at least one member on the joint board, and its total membership shall be determined by dividing the number of pupils from the school district with the largest enrollment by three, rounding off the quotient to the nearest whole number, which shall be called the "factor" and by then dividing the pupil enrollment of each of the other school districts by the "factor," rounding off this quotient to the nearest whole number, this number being the number of school directors on the joint board from each of the other school districts. Pupil enrollment for the purpose of determining the number of members on the joint board to which each school district is entitled shall be taken from the school registers on January 1 of the calendar year in which the school year starts. The joint board shall annually select from among its members a chair and a clerk and shall also select a treasurer from among the treasurers of the contracting districts. (Amended 1961, No. 79; 1991, No. 173 (Adj. Sess.); 2011, No. 129 (Adj. Sess.), § 8, eff. May 11, 2012.)


  • Subchapter 002: UNION HIGH SCHOOL DISTRICTS
  • §§ 601-602. Repealed. 1967, No. 277 (Adj. Sess.), § 39.

  • §§ 611-625. Repealed. 1967, No. 277 (Adj. Sess.), § 39.

  • §§ 641-644. Repealed. 1967, No. 277 (Adj. Sess.), § 39.

  • §§ 661-663. Repealed. 1967, No. 277 (Adj. Sess.), § 39.


  • Subchapter 003: UNION SCHOOL DISTRICTS FOR ELEMENTARY AND HIGH SCHOOLS
  • §§ 691-693. Repealed. 1967, No. 277 (Adj. Sess.), § 39.


  • Subchapter 004: UNION SCHOOL DISTRICTS
  • § 701. Policy

    It is declared to be the policy of the State to provide equal educational opportunities for all children in Vermont by authorizing two or more school districts, including an existing union school district, to establish a union school district for the purpose of owning, constructing, maintaining, or operating schools and to constitute the district so formed a municipal corporation with all of the rights and responsibilities that a town school district has in providing education for its youth. (Added 1967, No. 277 (Adj. Sess.), § 3; amended 2007, No. 154 (Adj. Sess.), § 19.)

  • § 701a. Application of other laws

    (a) The provisions of this subchapter are intended to be in addition to the general provisions of law pertaining to schools and not a limitation upon them, and in the event there is no provision in this subchapter to cover a situation and the situation is covered by the general school law, then the provisions of the general school law apply.

    (b) The provisions of general law relating to the administration and maintenance of schools, to school meetings and voting at the meetings, to grand lists, to the raising and expending of school money, to money apportioned by the State Board, to sharing in other State or federal aid, to the election, appointments, powers, duties, and liabilities of school officers, to secondary and elementary instruction, to transportation, board, and attendance of students, to textbooks and appliances, and to all other matters pertaining to schools in a town school district, unless inconsistent with this act or otherwise provided for in this subchapter, shall apply to schools maintained, similar school officers, and all matters pertaining to schools of the union school district. (Added 1967, No. 277 (Adj. Sess.), § 4; amended 2013, No. 92 (Adj. Sess.), § 82, eff. Feb. 14, 2014.)

  • § 701b. Application of chapter

    (a) Whenever referred to in this subchapter, the term "school district" shall include a "town school district," "incorporated school district," "union school district," or "city school district," and this subchapter shall accordingly apply to the organization and operation of a union school district of which any school district is a member or prospective member. The provisions of this subchapter shall apply and take precedence in the event of any conflict between those provisions and the provisions of the charter of a municipality that is a member or prospective member of a union district. Upon the organization of a union district under this subchapter, any charter of a member municipality is considered to be amended accordingly without further action.

    (b) If a union school district votes to participate in a planning committee pursuant to section 706 of this title, its member districts shall not participate on the study committee. If the participating union school district votes to join another union school district that is successfully formed, any conflicting terms of its articles of agreement are repealed in favor of the terms of the articles of agreement of the newly formed union school district. If the proposed union school district is to be a unified union school district, however, only town districts and incorporated districts may participate in the joint study and vote on its formation. A successful vote to form a unified union school district dissolves any preexisting union school district within its borders, and any assets or liabilities held by that union school district shall be transferred to the new unified union district. (Added 1967, No. 277 (Adj. Sess.), § 5; amended 2007, No. 154 (Adj. Sess.), § 20.)

  • § 701c. Definition

    Reference in any statute to "union high school district," or "union high school" includes a union school district, union elementary school district, or union elementary school. (Added 1967, No. 277 (Adj. Sess.), § 38.)

  • § 706. Proposal to form study committee

    When the boards of two or more school districts believe that a study committee should be established to study the advisability of forming a union school district, or if five percent of the voters eligible to vote at the last annual or special school district meeting petition the board of their respective school districts to do so, each of the boards shall meet with the superintendent of each participating district. With the advice of the superintendent, the boards shall establish a budget, and shall fix the number of persons to serve on the study committee that prepares the report required by this subchapter. The boards' proposal shall ensure that each participating district share in the committee's budget and be represented on the committee in that proportion which the equalized pupils (as defined in section 4001 of this title) of the district bear to the total equalized pupils of all school districts intending to participate in the committee's study. Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit informal exploration between and among school districts prior to the formation of a study committee. (Added 1967, No. 277 (Adj. Sess.), § 6; amended 1997, No. 71 (Adj. Sess.), § 109, eff. March 11, 1998; 2005, No. 182 (Adj. Sess.), § 24; 2007, No. 154 (Adj. Sess.), § 21.)

  • § 706a. Approval of study budget; appointment of study committee

    (a) If the proposed budget established in section 706 of this chapter exceeds $25,000.00, then:

    (1) The voters of each participating district shall be warned to meet at an annual or special school district meeting to vote on a question in substantially the following form: "Shall the school district of ................................ appropriate funds necessary to support the district's financial share of a study to determine the advisability of forming a union school district with some or all of the following school districts: ................................ ? It is estimated that the district's share, if all the above-listed districts vote to participate, will be $......................................... The total proposed budget, to be shared by all participating districts, is $..........." It is not necessary for the voters of each participating district to vote on the same date to establish a union school district study committee.

    (2) If the vote is in the affirmative in two or more districts, the boards of the participating districts shall appoint a study committee consisting of the number of persons previously fixed. At least one school director from each participating district shall be on the committee. A district board may appoint residents to the committee who are not school directors.

    (3) The sums expended for study purposes under this section shall be considered a part of the approved cost of any project in which the district participates pursuant to sections 3447 through 3449 of this title.

    (b) If the proposed budget established in section 706 of this chapter does not exceed $25,000.00, then the boards of the participating districts shall appoint a study committee consisting of the number of persons previously fixed. At least one school director from each participating district shall be on the committee. A district board may appoint residents who are not school directors to the committee. The sums expended for study purposes under this section shall be considered a part of the approved cost of any project in which the district participates pursuant to sections 3447 through 3449 of this title. (Added 1967, No. 277 (Adj. Sess.), § 7; amended 2007, No. 154 (Adj. Sess.), § 22.)

  • § 706b. Study committee; contents of study committee report

    (a) Study committee. When a study committee is appointed, the members shall elect a chair who shall notify the Secretary of Education of the appointment. The Secretary shall cooperate with the study committee and may make Agency staff available to assist in the study of the proposed union school district. The committee is a public body pursuant to 1 V.S.A. § 310(3). The committee shall cease to exist when the clerk of each district voting on a proposal to establish a union school district has certified the results of the vote to the Secretary pursuant to section 706g of this chapter.

    (b) Decision and report. The study committee may determine that it is inadvisable to form a union school district or it may prepare a report in the form of an agreement between member districts for the government of the proposed union school district. In making its determination, the committee may contact additional school districts it believes may be advisable to include within a new union school district. If the committee decides to recommend formation of a union school district, its report shall specify:

    (1) The names of school districts the committee considers necessary to the establishment of the proposed union; provided, however, only districts named in the warning for the vote under section 706a of this chapter may be identified as necessary.

    (2) The names of additional school districts the committee considers advisable to include in the proposed union school district.

    (3) The grades to be operated by the proposed union school district.

    (4) The cost and general location of any proposed new schools to be constructed and the cost and general description of any proposed renovations.

    (5) A plan for the first year of the union school district's operation for the transportation of students, the assignment of staff, and curriculum that is consistent with existing contracts, collective bargaining agreements, or other provisions of law. The board of the union school district shall make all subsequent decisions regarding transportation, staff, and curriculum subject to existing contracts, collective bargaining agreements, or other provisions of law.

    (6) The indebtedness of proposed member districts that the union school district shall assume.

    (7) The specific pieces of real property of proposed member districts that the union shall acquire, their valuation, and how the union school district shall pay for them.

    (8) The allocation of capital and operating expenses of the union school district among the member districts.

    (9) Consistent with the proportional representation requirements of the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution, the method of apportioning the representation that each proposed member district shall have on the union school board. The union school board shall have no more than 18 members, and each member district shall be entitled to at least one representative.

    (10) The term of office of directors initially elected, to be arranged so that one-third expire on the day of the second annual meeting of the respective districts, one-third on the day of the third annual meeting of the respective districts, and one-third on the day of the fourth annual meeting of the respective districts, or as near to that proportion as possible.

    (11) The date on which the union school district proposal will be submitted to the voters.

    (12) The date on which the union school district will begin operating schools and providing educational services.

    (13) Any other matters that the committee considers pertinent, including whether votes on the union school district budget or public questions shall be by Australian ballot. (Added 1967, No. 277 (Adj. Sess.), § 8; amended 1973, No. 2, § 1; 2003, No. 130 (Adj. Sess.), § 15; 2007, No. 154 (Adj. Sess.), § 23; 2013, No. 92 (Adj. Sess.), § 83, eff. Feb. 14, 2014.)

  • § 706c. Consideration by local school district boards and approval by State Board of Education

    (a) If a study committee prepares a report under section 706b of this chapter, the committee shall transmit the report to the school boards of each school district that participated in the study committee and any other school districts that the report identifies as necessary or advisable to the establishment of the proposed union school district for the review and comment of each school board.

    (b) The study committee shall transmit the report to the Secretary who shall submit the report with his or her recommendations to the State Board. After providing notice to the study committee and after giving the committee an opportunity to be heard, the State Board shall consider the report and the Secretary's recommendations, and decide whether the formation of such union school district will be in the best interests of the State, the students, and the school districts proposed to be members of the union. The State Board may request that the Secretary and the study committee make further investigation and may consider any other information deemed by it to be pertinent. If, after due consideration and any further meetings it deems necessary, the State Board finds that the formation of the proposed union school district is in the best interests of the State, the students, and the school districts, it shall approve the report submitted by the committee, together with any amendments, as a final report of the study committee, and shall give notice of its action to the committee. The chair of the study committee shall file a copy of the final report with the town clerk of each proposed member district at least 20 days prior to the vote to establish the union. (Added 1967, No. 277 (Adj. Sess.), § 9; amended 2007, No. 154 (Adj. Sess.), § 24; 2011, No. 156 (Adj. Sess.), § 18; 2013, No. 92 (Adj. Sess.), § 84, eff. Feb. 14, 2014.)

  • § 706d. Vote to establish union school districts

    Each school district that is designated in the final report as necessary to the proposed union school district shall vote, and any school district designated in the final report as advisable to be included may vote on the establishment of the proposed union school district. The vote shall be held on the date specified in the final report. The vote shall be warned in each proposed member school district by the school board of that district, and the vote shall be by Australian ballot, at separate school district meetings held on the same day and during the same hours. The polls shall remain open at least eight hours. Early or absentee voting as provided by 17 V.S.A. §§ 2531 to 2550 shall be permitted. The meetings shall be warned as a special meeting of each school district voting on the proposal. The school board of a school district designated as "advisable" in the proposed union school district may choose not to hold a meeting to vote on the question of establishing the union school district; provided, however, it shall warn and conduct the meeting on application of ten percent of the voters in the school district. (Added 1967, No. 277 (Adj. Sess.), § 10; amended 1987, No. 228 (Adj. Sess.), § 19; 2001, No. 6, § 12(c), eff. April 10, 2001; 2007, No. 154 (Adj. Sess.), § 25.)

  • § 706e. Election of directors

    (a) Each school district, at the meetings warned to vote on establishment of the union shall also elect directors by Australian ballot to represent the district on the union school board in the event the union is approved by the voters. Directors so elected shall serve from the date of the organization meeting for terms as provided in the final report.

    (b) Nominations for the office of union school director representing any district shall be made by filing with the clerk of that school district proposed as a member of the union, a statement of nomination signed by at least 30 voters in that district or one percent of the legal voters in the district, whichever is less and accepted in writing by the nominee. A statement shall be filed not less than 30 nor more than 40 days prior to the date of the vote. Each person so nominated shall have his or her name placed on the ballot. Each district shall elect as many directors as it is then entitled to have represent it on the union school board. The candidates for directors receiving the largest numbers of votes shall be elected to the union school board. In the event of a tie that, if unbroken, will result in more directors being elected than a district is entitled to, the town board of school directors shall, by majority vote, cast one vote for one of the candidates tied, and so create a plurality for that candidate. Nothing contained in this subchapter shall be construed to prohibit the election of school directors by at-large voting.

    (c) Nominations for the office of a union school director at-large shall be for a person who is a resident of a school district that is proposed as necessary to the establishment of the union. The nomination shall be made by filing with the clerk of any of the school districts proposed as necessary to the establishment of the union not less than 30 nor more than 40 days prior to the date of the vote, a statement of nomination signed by at least 60 voters from one or more districts proposed as necessary to the establishment of the union. Upon receipt of a petition for an at-large union school director, a clerk shall place the name of the person on the ballot and shall notify each clerk of every other school district proposed as a member of the union that the person is to have his or her name placed on each ballot in each district. Each district shall vote on candidates for member at-large. The candidates receiving the largest number of votes shall be elected to the union school board. (Added 1967, No. 277 (Adj. Sess.), § 11; amended 1971, No. 11; 1975, No. 48, § 7, eff. April 15, 1975; 1999, No. 64 (Adj. Sess.), § 1, eff. Feb. 3, 2000; 2003, No. 36, § 6.)

  • § 706f. Contents of warning on vote to establish the union

    The warning for each school district meeting shall contain two articles in substantially the following form:

     

    WARNING

     

    The voters of the town (city, union, etc.) school district of       are hereby notified and warned to meet at     on the     day of       ,       , to vote by Australian ballot between the hours of       , at which time the polls will  open, and, at which time the polls will close, upon the following articles of  business: 

     

    Article I

     

    Shall the town (city, union, etc.) school district of       which the State Board of Education has found (necessary or advisable) to include in the proposed union school district, join with the school districts of       and     , which the State Board of Education has found necessary to include in the  proposed union school district, and the school districts of and, which the State Board of Education has found advisable to include in the proposed union school district, for the purpose of forming a union school district, as provided in Title 16, Vermont Statutes Annotated, upon the following conditions and agreements:

    (a) Grades. The union school

    district shall operate and manage a school offering instruction in grades ________ through ________.

    (b) Board of School Directors. (State formula by which representation of each member district on the union school board is to be determined.)

    (c) [Repealed.]

                  (d) Assumption of debts and ownership of school property. The union school district shall assume the indebtedness of member districts, acquire the school  properties of member districts, and pay for them, all as specified in the final report. (If no indebtedness is to be assumed, or school property acquired, by the union district, this paragraph (d) may be omitted.)       (e) Final Report. The provisions of the final report approved by the State Board of Education on the       day of       ,       , which is on file in the  town clerk's office, shall govern the union district. 

     

    Article II

     

    To elect from the following nominees:       ,       , (name, etc.), (number of directors which the district is entitled to) school director(s) to serve

     on the proposed union school district board from the date of the organization meeting for terms as provided in the final report.

     (Added 1967, No. 277 (Adj. Sess.), § 12; amended 2003, No. 130 (Adj. Sess.), § 15; 2007, No. 154 (Adj. Sess.), § 26; 2009, No. 44, § 10, eff. May 21, 2009.)

  • § 706g. Designation of districts as union school district, recording by Secretary of State

    Within 45 days after the vote or 15 days after an unsuccessful vote to reconsider or rescind the original vote under 17 V.S.A. § 2661, whichever is later, the clerk of each district voting on the proposal to establish a union school district shall certify the results of the vote to the Secretary of Education. If a majority of the voters voting in each district that is designated in the final report as necessary to the establishment of the proposed union vote to establish the proposed union district, those districts, together with any district designated in the final report as advisable to be included in the proposed union, which voted by a majority of those voting to establish the proposed union district, shall constitute a union school district. The Secretary of Education shall designate all such districts as a union school district; and shall so certify to the Secretary of State, who shall record such certification. Upon this record, the union school district shall become a body politic and corporate with the powers incident to a municipal corporation, shall be known by the name or number given in the certificate, by that name or number may sue and be sued, and may hold and convey real and personal estate for the use of the district. The record shall be notice to all parties of the establishment of the union school district with all the powers incident to such a district as herein provided. A certified copy of the record in the Office of the Secretary of State shall be filed by him or her in the office of the clerk of each school district to be included within the union school district within 15 days from the date the Secretary of Education certified the existence of the union district to him or her. This filing shall be prima facie evidence of full compliance with the requirements for the creation of a union school district as set forth in this subchapter. (Added 1967, No. 277 (Adj. Sess.), § 13; amended 2013, No. 56, § 1, eff. May 30, 2013.)

  • § 706h. Superintendent for union district

    For administrative and supervisory services, the State Board of Education shall assign a union school district to a supervisory union as established according to the provisions of this title. (Added 1967, No. 277 (Adj. Sess.); amended 1969, No. 298 (Adj. Sess.), § 1.)

  • § 706i. Organization meeting; notice

    Within 60 days after the copies of the certificate have been filed in the office of the clerk of each school district to be included as members of the union school district, the voters in the union district shall hold an organization meeting within the district. Notice of the day, hour, and place of the meeting shall be posted in at least one public place in each member school district of the union school district and published once in a newspaper circulating in the union district. Publication and posting shall be made not more than 40 days nor less than 30 days before the date of the meeting. The warning for such meeting shall be drawn by the Secretary or by such person or persons who are voters in the union school district as the Secretary may designate for the purpose. The cost of giving notice shall be borne by the union school district. (Added 1967, No. 277 (Adj. Sess.), § 15; amended 1971, No. 4, eff. March 19, 1971; 2013, No. 92 (Adj. Sess.), § 86, eff. Feb. 14, 2014.)

  • § 706j. Organization meeting; business to be transacted

    (a) The meeting shall be called to order by the Secretary or a person designated by the Secretary, and at such meeting or at an adjournment thereof:

    (1) A temporary presiding officer and clerk from among the qualified voters shall be elected.

    (2) The meeting shall adopt Robert's or other rules of order, which shall govern the parliamentary procedures of this and subsequent meetings of the union school district.

    (3) A moderator, a clerk, a treasurer, and three auditors shall be elected; a treasurer shall be elected unless a supervisory union treasurer is designated to act as treasurer of the union district.

    (4) Compensation to be paid district officers shall be determined, and approved.

    (5) The date of the annual meeting shall be not earlier than February 1 nor later than June 1.

    (6) The date on which the union will assume control of existing schools of the class specified in the vote to establish the union, shall be determined.

    (7) Provision shall be made for the payment of any expense incurred or to be incurred by or on behalf of the district for the period between the date on which the vote was taken to form the union district and the first annual meeting of the union district, including the cost of architects, surveyors, contractors, attorneys, educational consultants or other experts, the purchase price of a site for a union school, and current operating expenses.

    (8) The board of directors may be authorized by the electorate to borrow money pending receipt of payments from the Education Fund by the issuance of its notes or orders payable not later than one year from date. A newly formed union school district, however, is authorized to borrow sufficient funds to meet pending obligations.

    (9) Any other business, the subject matter of which has been included in the warning, that the voters have power to transact at any annual meeting, may be transacted.

    (b) The officers and directors as elected shall be sworn in before entering upon the duties of their offices, and a record made by the clerk. They shall assume office upon being sworn in. Officers shall serve until the first annual meeting or until their successors are elected and qualified. When there is only one nominee for temporary presiding officer, temporary clerk, moderator, clerk, treasurer, or auditor, the voters may, by acclamation, instruct an officer to elect the nominee by casting one ballot, and upon the ballot being cast, the nominee shall be legally elected and shall thereupon be sworn. (Added 1967, No. 277 (Adj. Sess.), § 16; amended 1969, No. 298 (Adj. Sess.), § 2; 1971, No. 138 (Adj. Sess.); 1973, No. 2, § 2; 1977, No. 128 (Adj. Sess.), § 2; 2003, No. 130 (Adj. Sess.), § 1, eff. July 1, 2006; 2007, No. 154 (Adj. Sess.), § 27; 2013, No. 92 (Adj. Sess.), § 87, eff. Feb. 14, 2014.)

  • § 706k. Election of district officers

    (a) A school director representing a member district who is to serve on the union school district board after the expiration of the terms provided for school directors in the final report shall be elected by that member district at an annual or special meeting. Such election shall be by Australian ballot in those member districts that so elect their town school district directors. Union district officers elected at an annual meeting shall enter upon their duties on July 1 following their election and shall serve a term of one year or until their successors are elected and qualified, except that if the voters at an annual meeting so vote, moderators elected at an annual meeting shall assume office upon election and shall serve for a term of one year or until their successors are elected and qualified. School directors elected at an annual meeting shall assume office upon election and shall serve a term of three years or until their successors are elected and qualified. The clerk of the union district shall, within ten days after the election or appointment of any officer or director give notice of the results to the Secretary of State.

    (b) In any member district that elects its representative directors to the union school district board, or other union district officers, by Australian ballot, statements of nomination for officers to be elected by Australian ballot shall be signed by at least 30 voters in that district or one percent of the legal voters in the district, whichever is less. The statement of nomination shall be accepted in writing by the nominee. The statement shall be filed with the clerk of the town school district no later than 5:00 p.m. on the sixth Monday preceding the day of the election.

    (c) In a union district that elects one or more at-large directors by Australian ballot, a nomination shall be made by filing a statement of nomination signed by at least 60 voters from one or more member districts with the clerk of the union school district no later than 5:00 p.m. on the sixth Monday preceding the day of the election. (Added 1967, No. 277 (Adj. Sess.), § 17; amended 1973, No. 2, § 3; 1975, No. 48, § 8, eff. April 15, 1975; 1991, No. 12; 1999, No. 64 (Adj. Sess.), § 2, eff. Feb. 3, 2000; 2003, No. 36, § 7.)

  • § 706 l. Vacancies in district offices

    (a) A vacancy occurring in any district office other than on the board of directors shall be temporarily filled by the board of school directors of the union school district as soon as practicable after the vacancy occurs and the temporary appointee shall serve until the district, at its next meeting, fills the vacancy for the remainder of the unexpired term.

    (b) When a vacancy occurs on the board of directors:

    (1) If the member represented a member school district, the clerk shall immediately notify the school board of the member district. Within 30 days of the receipt of that notice, the school board shall appoint a person who is otherwise eligible to serve as a director from that district to fill the vacancy until an election at a special or annual district meeting is held.

    (2) If the member represented a town that does not have a school board, the clerk shall immediately notify the selectboard of the town. Within 30 days of the receipt of that notice, the selectboard shall appoint a person who is otherwise eligible to serve as a director from that district to fill the vacancy until an election at a special or annual district meeting is held.

    (3) If the member was elected at large to represent the entire union district, the union school board shall, within 30 days of the creation of the vacancy, appoint a person who is otherwise eligible to serve as a director to fill the vacancy until an election at a special or annual district meeting is held.

    (4) If there are vacancies in a majority of the members of the board of directors at the same time, the remaining director or directors are authorized to draw orders for payment of continuing obligations and necessary expenses until a majority of the vacancies is filled. If there are no directors in office, the Secretary of State shall appoint and authorize the union school district clerk or other qualified person to draw orders for payment of continuing obligations and necessary expenses until a majority of the vacancies is filled. (Added 1967, No. 277 (Adj. Sess.), § 18; amended 1975, No. 171 (Adj. Sess.), § 2; 2005, No. 32, § 2.)

  • § 706m. Terms of office

    The terms of office of directors shall be three years after the first term and of all other officers shall be one year. (Added 1967, No. 277 (Adj. Sess.), § 19; amended 2005, No. 54, § 6; 2011, No. 129 (Adj. Sess.), § 25, eff. July 1, 2013.)

  • § 706n. Amendments to agreements reached by establishment vote, organization meeting, or final report

    (a) A specific condition or agreement set forth as a distinct subsection under Article 1 of the warning required by section 706f of this chapter and adopted by the member districts at the vote held to establish the union school district, or any amendment subsequently adopted pursuant to the terms of this section, may be amended only at a special or annual union district meeting; provided that the prior approval of the State Board of Education shall be secured if the proposed amendment concerns reducing the number of grades that the union is to operate. The warning for the meeting shall contain each proposed amendment as a separate article. The vote on each proposed amendment shall be by Australian ballot. Ballots shall be counted in each member district, and the clerks of each member district shall transmit the results of the vote in that district to the union school district clerk. Although the results shall be reported to the public by member district, an amendment is effective if approved by a majority of the electorate of the union district voting at that meeting.

    (b) Any decision at the organization meeting may be amended by a majority of those present and voting at a union district meeting duly warned for that purpose.

    (c) Any provision of the final report that was included in the warning required pursuant to section 706f of this chapter for the vote to form the union by reference to or incorporation of the entire report but that was not set forth as a distinct subsection under Article 1 of the warning may be amended by a simple majority vote of the union board of school directors, or by any other majority of the board as is specified for a particular matter in the report. (Added 1967, No. 277 (Adj. Sess.); amended 1969, No. 298 (Adj. Sess.), § 3; 2003, No. 130 (Adj. Sess.), § 2, eff. July 1, 2006; 2007, No. 154 (Adj. Sess.), § 28; 2011, No. 156 (Adj. Sess.), § 19.)

  • § 706 o. Statistical information

    Annually, on or before August 15, the directors shall give or cause to be given to the Secretary of Education answers to statistical inquiries that may be addressed to the district by the Secretary. (Added 1967, No. 277 (Adj. Sess.), § 21; amended 1971, No. 10; 2013, No. 92 (Adj. Sess.), § 88, eff. Feb. 14, 2014.)

  • § 706p. Warnings of union district meetings

    (a) Union district meetings shall be warned by the clerk, or in the case of his or her disability, by the directors, by posting a notice, signed by the chair of the board or a board member designated by him or her, specifying the time, place, and business of the meeting, in at least one public place in each member school district of the union school district, and causing the same to be published once in a newspaper circulating in the union district. Publication and posting shall be made at least 30 days and not more than 40 days before the meeting, not counting the day of the meeting. The warning shall be recorded in the office of the clerk before being posted.

    (b) Any meeting called for the purpose of considering a bond issue shall be warned in accordance with the provisions of 24 V.S.A. § 1755.

    (c) The board of directors shall have the same authority and obligation to warn or call meetings of the union school district as selectboard members have to warn or call town meetings.

    (d) When a person whose duty it is to warn a district meeting neglects to do so for ten days after application is made as above provided, he or she shall forfeit to the district $ 20.00 for each ten days' neglect, to be recovered in an action on this statute. (Added 1967, No. 277 (Adj. Sess.), § 22; amended 1969, No. 298 (Adj. Sess.), § 4; 2013, No. 161 (Adj. Sess.), §§ 72(a),(c).)

  • § 706q. Powers, duties, and liabilities of officers; bonds

    (a) The powers, duties, and liabilities of the treasurer, board of directors, and clerk shall be like those of a treasurer, board of school directors, and clerk of a town school district.

    (b) Before entering upon the duties of their office, the board of school directors shall give a blanket bond and the treasurer shall give a personal bond to the district, conditioned upon the faithful performance of their duties. The treasurer's bond shall be in such sum as the board of school directors shall require. The board of school directors' bond shall be in such sum as shall be required by the Secretary of Education. When a board of school directors or treasurer for 10 days neglects to give a bond as required, the office shall become vacant.

    (c) The board of directors shall prepare an annual report concerning the affairs of the union district and have it printed and distributed to the legal voters of the union at least ten days prior to the annual union district meeting. The report shall be filed with the clerk of the union district, and the town clerk of each member district. It shall include:

    (1) a statement of the board concerning the affairs of the union district;

    (2) the budget proposed for the next year;

    (3) a statement of the superintendent of schools for the union district concerning the affairs of the union;

    (4) a treasurer's report.

    (5) [Repealed.]  (Added 1967, No. 277 (Adj. Sess.), § 23; amended 1969, No. 298 (Adj. Sess.), § 5; 2003, No. 107 (Adj. Sess.), § 5; 2011, No. 129 (Adj. Sess.), §§ 26, 27, eff. July 1, 2013; 2013, No. 92 (Adj. Sess.), § 89, eff. Feb. 14, 2014.)

  • § 706r. Moderator

    The moderator shall preside at district meetings and in his or her absence a moderator pro tempore shall be chosen to preside. (Added 1967, No. 277 (Adj. Sess.), § 24.)

  • § 706s. Books and papers to be turned over to successor

    When a district office becomes vacant, and a successor is elected or appointed, the successor is entitled to receive all of the books and papers of the office, on demand. A person having books or papers in his or her possession who refuses for ten days after demand to surrender the same to the successor shall forfeit to the district $20.00 for each ten days' neglect, to be recovered in an action on this statute. (Added 1967, No. 277 (Adj. Sess.), § 25.)

  • § 706t. Repealed. 1969, No. 298 (Adj. Sess.), § 79.

  • § 706u. Checklist for union district meetings

    The clerks of the respective towns within the union school district shall furnish to the clerk of the district, at the expense of the district, authenticated copies of the checklist of legal voters within the town, as the same appears after revision of the checklist made pursuant to 17 V.S.A. §§ 2141-2150. In the case of a person who is otherwise eligible to vote at a union district meeting who has not maintained current residence in a member town for the requisite number of days, but who has resided within the union school district for the requisite number of days, the clerk of the town of current residence shall enter such person's name on the checklist upon presentation of a certificate, or certificates, signed by the clerks of the towns of former residence evidencing residence within the district for the requisite number of days. That checklist shall control for the purposes of determining the voters eligible to vote at the district meeting, except that at an assembled district meeting, the union board of directors shall decide all questions as to the eligibility of a person to vote. (Added 1967, No. 277 (Adj. Sess.), § 27; amended 1969, No. 298 (Adj. Sess.), § 6; 1987, No. 228 (Adj. Sess.), § 20.)

  • § 706v. Record of proceedings

    The clerk shall keep a record of the votes and the proceedings of the union school district meetings and give certified copies of them when required. A clerk who neglects to perform this duty shall forfeit $20.00 to the district, to be recovered in an action on this statute. (Added 1967, No. 277 (Adj. Sess.), § 28.)

  • § 706w. Polling places; transportation and counting of ballots

    Bond issues under 24 V.S.A. §§ 1751-1788 are to be determined by Australian ballot or voting machine; each regular polling place in each district shall be used for this purpose. The board of civil authority of each town within the union district shall be responsible for determining the eligibility of persons to vote, the supervision of the election, and the transportation of ballots in its district to a central point designated by the board of school directors. The ballots shall be commingled. Counting of ballots by representatives of the boards of civil authority of the member towns shall be supervised by the union district clerk or his or her designee. (Added 1967, No. 277 (Adj. Sess.), § 29; amended 1989, No. 211 (Adj. Sess.), § 1.)

  • § 707. Union school district boards; quorum and voting requirements

    (a) A union school district board meeting shall be conducted in accordance with the Vermont Open Meeting Law.

    (b) A majority of the members of the board shall constitute a quorum. Subject to the provisions of subsection (c) of this section but notwithstanding any other provision of law, the concurrence of a majority of members present at a union school district board meeting shall be necessary and sufficient for board action.

    (c) A union school district may establish a system of weighted voting in its school board to reflect the principle of one person, one vote. If weighted voting is used, members of the board holding a majority of the total number of weighted votes shall constitute a quorum, and a majority of the weighted votes cast shall be necessary and sufficient for board action. (Added 1991, No. 181 (Adj. Sess.), § 14.)

  • § 711. Repealed. 2003, No. 130 (Adj. Sess.), § 15(3).

  • § 711a. Establishment of union district budget

    (a) The board of directors of the union district shall at each annual meeting present an estimate of the expenses for the ensuing year and the district shall appropriate that sum that it deems necessary for the expenses, together with the amount required to pay any balance left unpaid from the preceding year, expressing the sum in dollars in its vote. If a budget for the operation of the district is not approved, a subsequent meeting or meetings shall be called pursuant to section 706p of this title. At its first annual meeting the district shall similarly vote a sum sufficient to pay any unpaid balance of expenses, as defined in section 706j of this title, that was incurred by or on behalf of the district since the date on which the vote was taken to form the union district.

    (b) If a budget has not been approved on or before June 30 of any year, the school board may borrow funds pursuant to the authority granted under section 566 of this title.

    (c) [Repealed.]  (Added 1967, No. 277 (Adj. Sess.), § 31; amended 1977, No. 4; 1995, No. 32, § 2; 2003, No. 68, § 83, eff. June 18, 2003; 2003, No. 130 (Adj. Sess.), §§ 3, 16(d).)

  • § 711b. Repealed. 2003, No. 130 (Adj. Sess.), § 15(4).

  • § 711c. Tuition rate for union school district

    Any student, a resident of a nonmember town may, in the discretion of the board of union school directors, be admitted equally with participating member students, provided, however, that the tuition paid is a rate not greater than the calculated net cost per pupil as defined under section 825 of this title. (Added 1967, No. 277 (Adj. Sess.), § 33.)

  • § 711d. Improvements, indebtedness, bonds, early or absentee voters

    Improvements may be made by a union school district for the purposes for which the district is established as provided in this subchapter, and indebtedness may be incurred for the improvements as provided by 24 V.S.A. §§ 1751-1786a. Early or absentee voting in accordance with 17 V.S.A. §§ 2531-2550 shall be permitted on questions concerning bond issues of the union school district. The debt limit of the union school district shall be ten times the sum total of the education grand lists of the member districts composing the union, without diminution for any obligation incurred by a member district alone. The amount of indebtedness of a union school district incurred to finance any project approved under sections 3447 to 3456 of this title shall not be considered a part of the indebtedness of the union school district for purposes of determining its debt limit. Obligations incurred under 24 V.S.A. §§ 1751-1786a, or as otherwise authorized in this subchapter by a union school district, shall be the joint and several obligations of the district and of each of the member districts composing it. Any joint or several liability incurred by a member district under the provisions of this subchapter shall not be considered in determining its debt limit for its own separate purposes. (Added 1967, No. 277 (Adj. Sess.), § 34; amended 1997, No. 71 (Adj. Sess.), § 111, eff. March 11, 1998; 2001, No. 6, § 12(b), (c), eff. April 10, 2001; 2003, No. 107 (Adj. Sess.), § 6; 2003, No. 130 (Adj. Sess.), § 4.)

  • § 711e. Budget votes by Australian ballot

    (a) A union school district may vote to establish its budget by Australian ballot under the provisions of 17 V.S.A. § 2680. At the same time the union school district shall also vote whether the ballots shall be commingled.

    (b) The votes whether to use the Australian ballot and whether to commingle the ballots shall be taken by written ballot. The questions shall be in substantially the following form:

    "Shall the (union school district name) adopt its budget by Australian ballot?"

    "If the (union school district name) votes to adopt its budget by Australian ballot, shall the ballots be commingled?"

    (c) If the union school district has voted to adopt its budget by Australian ballot, the question shall be in substantially the following form:

    "Shall the (union school district name) adopt a budget of $ ................. for school year ............................... ?"

    (d) If the union school district has voted to commingle its ballots, the ballots shall be deposited in separate containers at each polling place. The board of civil authority may open the containers and count the number of ballots cast in the election, but shall not count the ballots for purposes of determining the outcome of the election. At the closing of the polls, the municipal clerk or his or her designee shall appoint a member or members of the board of civil authority who shall transport the sealed container to the clerk of the union school district. Under the supervision of the union school district clerk, the appointed members of the boards of civil authority shall count the commingled ballots. The budget shall be established if a majority of the votes cast are in favor.

    (e) If the union school district has voted not to commingle its ballots, the municipal clerks of the member towns shall transmit to the union school district clerk the results of the vote upon completion of the counting. The budget shall be established if a majority of the votes cast are in favor.

    (f) If the proposed budget is rejected, the union district board shall prepare a revised budget. The board shall establish a date for vote on the revised budget, and shall take appropriate steps to warn a public informational meeting on the budget and the vote. The date of the public informational meeting shall be at least five days following the public notice. The date of the vote shall be at least seven days following the public notice. The vote on the revised budget shall be by Australian ballot and shall take place in the same locations that the first vote was taken. The budget shall be established if a majority of all votes cast are in favor. If the revised budget is rejected, the board shall repeat the procedure in this subsection until the budget is adopted.

    (g) Unless clearly inconsistent, the provisions of 17 V.S.A. chapter 55 shall apply to actions taken under this section. (Added 1983, No. 65; amended 1989, No. 211 (Adj. Sess.), § 2; 2003, No. 107 (Adj. Sess.), § 7.)

  • § 712. Repealed. 1997, No. 71 (Adj. Sess.), § 106(b), eff. March 11, 1998.

  • § 721. Inclusion of additional school districts

    (a) Action initiated by district outside the union. After preliminary study by a district school board and approval by the State Board, and when a majority of voters present and voting at a school district meeting duly warned for that purpose vote to apply to a neighboring union school district for admission as a member of the union district, the vote shall be certified by the clerk of the school district to the clerk of the union school district and to the Secretary of Education. If, within two years from the date of that vote a majority of those voting at a meeting of the union school district duly warned for that purpose, votes to include the additional school district as a member of the union, the clerk of the union shall certify the results of that vote to the Secretary of Education. The Secretary of Education shall designate the additional school district a member of the union, and so certify to the Secretary of State. The Secretary of State shall record such certification in accordance with the provisions of section 706g of this title, which shall have the effect as provided therein.

    (b) Action initiated by union school district. When it appears to the union board of directors that the boundaries of the union school district should be changed to include another school district, the union board shall submit a plan for incorporation of the other school district in the union district to the State Board. Following approval of the plan by the State Board, the union district directors shall insert an article fully describing the proposed change in the warning for a regular or special meeting of the union district. When a majority of the voters voting at the meeting vote to include an additional school district within the boundaries of the union school district as a member of the union, the board of directors shall notify the legislative branch of that additional district of the vote. Within 180 days thereafter, the legislative branch of the additional district proposed to be included shall duly warn a meeting thereof, setting forth in the warning the vote of the union district and the proposed change in its boundaries. If a majority of the voters voting at the meeting of the additional district vote to be included within the union school district, the result of that vote and the result of the vote already taken by the union school district shall be certified by the respective clerks to the Secretary of Education. The Secretary of Education and the Secretary of State shall then take the action specified in section 706g of this title.

    (c) A union school district enlarged pursuant to this section shall have all the powers and responsibilities given it by this subchapter. Unless otherwise agreed between the union district board and the additional member district school board, the additional member shall share in the expenses of the union district in the proportion provided in this subchapter for other member districts from the date the certificate of the Secretary of State is filed in the office of the clerk of the union district and the office of the clerk of the additional school district member. (Added 1967, No. 277 (Adj. Sess.), § 35; amended 2013, No. 92 (Adj. Sess.), § 90, eff. Feb. 14, 2014.)

  • § 721a. Withdrawal from district

    (a) A school district that is a member of a union school district may vote to withdraw from the union school district if one year has elapsed since the union school district has become a body politic and corporate as provided in section 706g of this title.

    (b) When a majority of the voters of a school district that is a member of a union school district present and voting at a school district meeting duly warned for that purpose votes to withdraw from the union school district, the vote shall be certified by the clerk of the school district to the Secretary of State who shall record the certificate in his or her office and give notice of the vote to the Secretary of Education and to the other members of the union school district. Within 90 days after receiving notice, those other members shall vote by Australian ballot on the same day during the same hours whether to ratify withdrawal of the member. Withdrawal by a member shall be effective only if approved by an affirmative vote of each of the other members of the union school district.

    (c) If the vote to ratify the withdrawal of a member is approved by each of the other members, the union school district shall notify the Secretary of Education who shall advise the State Board. At a meeting held thereafter, if the State Board finds that the students in the withdrawing member will attend a school that is in compliance with the rules adopted by the Board pertaining to educational programs, then the State Board shall declare the membership of the withdrawing member in the union school district to end as of July 1 immediately following or as soon thereafter as the obligations of the withdrawing member have been paid to, or an agreement made with, the union school district in an amount satisfactory to the electorate of each member of the union school district. The State Board shall give notice to the remaining members in the union of its meeting and give representatives of the remaining members an opportunity to be heard. It shall then determine whether it is in the best interests of the State, the students, and the members remaining in the union district for the union to continue to exist. The State Board may declare the union district dissolved as of July 1 immediately following or as soon thereafter as each member's obligations have been satisfied, or it may declare that the union district shall continue to exist despite the withdrawal of the former member. The State Board shall file the declaration with the Secretary of State, the clerk of the withdrawing member, and the clerk of the union school district concerned.

    (d) A vote of withdrawal taken after a union school district has become a body politic and corporate as provided in section 706g of this title but less than one year after that date shall be void. (Added 1967, No. 277 (Adj. Sess.), § 36; amended 1977, No. 7; 2007, No. 154 (Adj. Sess.), § 29; 2009, No. 44, § 11, eff. May 21, 2009; 2013, No. 92 (Adj. Sess.), § 91, eff. Feb. 14, 2014.)

  • § 721b. Districts established under prior law

    All union school districts formed prior to July 1, 2007 are ratified and shall be governed by this chapter. (Added 1967, No. 277 (Adj. Sess.), § 37; amended 2007, No. 154 (Adj. Sess.), § 30.)

  • § 721c. Districts not operating schools

    At a duly warned meeting, the electorate of a district that does not operate schools and is a member of a union school district or districts representing all grades K-12, may vote to discontinue the district. The powers and responsibilities of districts discontinued in this fashion shall be assigned to the union district of which it is a member. (Added 1987, No. 228 (Adj. Sess.), § 16.)

  • § 722. Unified union districts

    (a) A union school district shall be known as a unified union district if it provides for the education of resident prekindergarten-grade 12 students, whether by:

    (1) operating a school or schools for all grades;

    (2) operating a school or schools for all students in one or more grades and paying tuition for all students in the remaining grade or grades; or

    (3) paying tuition for all grades.

    (b) On the date the unified union district becomes operative, unless another date is specified in the study committee report, it shall supplant all other school districts within its borders, and they shall cease to exist.

    (c) If provided for in the committee report, the unified union school district board may be elected and may conduct business for the limited purpose of preparing for the transition to unified union district administration while the proposed member school districts continue to operate schools.

    (d) The functions of the legislative branch of each preexisting school district in warning meetings and conducting elections of unified union school district board members shall be performed by the corresponding board of alderpersons of a city or city council, the selectboard of a town, or the trustees of an incorporated school district as appropriate. (Added 1969, No. 298 (Adj. Sess.), § 50; amended 1977, No. 107; 1987, No. 228 (Adj. Sess.), § 14; 1997, No. 71 (Adj. Sess.), § 112, eff. July 1, 1999; 2003, No. 76 (Adj. Sess.), § 24, eff. Feb. 17, 2004; 2003, No. 107 (Adj. Sess.), § 8; 2003, No. 130 (Adj. Sess.), § 5; 2007, No. 154 (Adj. Sess.), § 31; 2015, No. 46, § 44, eff. June 2, 2015.)

  • § 723. Transition to unified union school district administration

    On the day the establishment of a unified union school district becomes effective, the district gains title to the assets and assumes the existing contractual obligations and other liabilities of the member school districts within its borders unless otherwise agreed to by the member districts in the approved plan for the formation of the unified union school district; provided, however, the unified union school district shall in all cases assume the contractual obligations of the member districts regarding each existing collective bargaining agreement or other employment contract until the agreement's or contract's expiration. All trust funds held or enjoyed by a preexisting district shall be held and applied as the terms of the trust indicate. If such trust allows, the funds may be applied for the use of the unified union school district. Within five days of the day a unified union school district becomes effective, the treasurer of each preexisting school district shall pay by check to the treasurer of the unified union school district the full amount of the balance standing in his or her school account and transfer to him or her all outstanding notes and contracts in force. All other officers of the preexisting school districts shall transfer to the corresponding officer of the unified union school district all instruments and other documents giving evidence of the assets, liabilities, and contractual status of the district. (Added 1969, No. 298 (Adj. Sess.), § 51; amended 2007, No. 154 (Adj. Sess.), § 32.)

  • § 724. Withdrawal from or dissolution of a unified union school district

    (a) A town or city corresponding to a preexisting school district that voted to form a unified union school district may vote to withdraw from the district if one year has elapsed since the unified union school district became a body politic and corporate as provided under section 706g of this title.

    (b) When a majority of the voters of the town or city present and voting at a meeting duly warned for that purpose votes to withdraw from a unified union school district, the vote shall be certified by the clerk of the town or city to the Secretary of State who shall record the certificate in his or her office and give notice of the vote to the other towns or cities corresponding to the preexisting school districts that voted to form the unified union school district. Such other towns and cities shall vote by Australian ballot on the same day during the same hours whether to ratify the withdrawal of the town or city. To be effective, action to withdraw shall be approved by an affirmative vote of each of the other towns or cities within the unified union school district.

    (c) If the vote to ratify the withdrawal of the town or city is approved by each of the other towns or cities, the unified union school district clerk shall notify the Secretary of Education who shall advise the State Board. At a meeting held thereafter, if the State Board finds that the students in the withdrawing town or city will attend a school that is in compliance with the rules adopted by the State Board pertaining to educational programs, the State Board shall declare the membership of the withdrawing town or city to be at an end as of July 1 immediately following or as soon thereafter as the obligations of the withdrawing district have been paid to, or an agreement made with, the union school district in an amount satisfactory to the electorate of each of the other towns and cities within the unified union school district. In addition, the State Board shall declare the preexisting school district corresponding to the withdrawing town or city to be reconstituted. The State Board shall give notice to the remaining towns and cities in the unified union school district of its meeting and give the relevant representatives an opportunity to be heard. It shall then determine whether it is in the best interests of the State, the students, and the school districts remaining in the unified union school district that the unified union district continue to exist. The State Board may declare the unified union school district dissolved as of July 1 immediately following or as soon thereafter as each remaining town's or city's obligations have been satisfied, or it may declare that the unified union district shall continue to exist despite the withdrawal of the former town or city member. The State Board shall file its declaration with the Secretary of State, the clerk of the withdrawing town or city, and the clerk of the affected unified union school district.

    (d) A vote of withdrawal taken after a unified union school district has become a body politic and corporate as provided in section 706g of this title but less than one year after that date is void. (Added 2007, No. 154 (Adj. Sess.), § 33; amended 2013, No. 92 (Adj. Sess.), § 92, eff. Feb. 14, 2014.)