UPDATE: SVRSU passes budget, Alna school choice change

Posted:  Wednesday, June 13, 2018 - 9:15am
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UPDATE: With all of Sheepscot Valley Regional School Unit 12’s towns now reporting, the district has passed all three questions: the budget, with 68 percent going yes, a capital improvements bond, with 67 percent approval; and a change in how Alna does school choice, winning with 64 percent of the vote.

Alna resident and now district board member-elect Ralph Hilton filed a petition six months ago for the question. He said Wednesday afternoon, he was glad the steps to getting the change were over but, since some residents voted against it again, it might take time for the issue to go away and for the town to heal, he added.

Hilton predicted a spike of move-ins before the June 30 cutoff for the publicly funded, private K-8 schooling. But that spike would likely roll back over time as people move around, which people do, he said.

Former selectman Jon Villeneuve has supported full school choice and has questioned the lack of a committee like those the town has had on other issues. He said he was not surprised district voters passed the question, adding he doubted they were very well-versed in the issue and he felt the district board rushed the question through to voters.

Villeneuve said he doesn't want the amendment to leave a black eye on the town. "I just want people to know Alna is not against families," he continued. "Come to Alna. Make it a younger, more vibrant place."

Chelsea went 375-213 on the Alna question, according to results SVRSU 12 Superintendent of Schools Howie Tuttle provided.

Responding to a text request for comment on the budget's passage, Tuttle wrote: “We are very appreciative of the continued support for the school budget from the RSU 12 community. It allows us to continue to provide a quality education to RSU 12 students.”

Every question passed in every town. On the budget, Alna went 233-81, Westport Island 212-63, Chelsea 375-243, Palermo 249-72, Somerville 148-99, Whitefield 445-131, and Windsor 344-264. 

On a capital improvements bond, Alna went 226-89, Westport Island 185-93, Chelsea 336-239, Palermo 257-70, Somerville 140-96, Whitefield 456-128, and Windsor 194-149.

Original post: With the counting completed in all but Chelsea, as of Wednesday morning, Alna’s proposed drop of private schools as an option for publicly funded K-8 school choice was passing.

According to town and Sheepscot Valley Regional School Unit 12 officials, Alna favored the question 219-98, Westport Island 155-112, Windsor 304-199, Palermo 214-97, Somerville 198-35, Whitfield 378-178 and Windsor 304-199.

SVRSU 12 Superintendent of Schools Howie Tuttle said Chelsea stopped counting election results at 2 a.m. and  planned to resume at 10 a.m. Tuttle said the Alna question and the school budget appeared likely to pass but a different outcome was possible depending on how Chelsea, the district’s largest town, voted, he added.

The proposed school choice change passed in Alna in March and needed approval district-wide Tuesday. The question called for changing the district’s reorganization plan. The language grandfathered any child living in Alna by the end of this month.

Alna favored the budget 233-81, Westport Island 212-63, Palermo 249-72, Somerville 148-99, Whitefield 445-131, and Windsor 344-264.