Ending Independent School Choice (H.258)

Representative Graning introduced the House Education Committee to her bill, H.258, which she claims is to support high quality public education. The bill effectively restricts public tuition to the four traditional academies, which essentially removes school choice for students that reside in districts that do not operate a school. She admitted that this bill was about stopping the “siphoning of money” away from public schools.

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Education Quality Standards - Feb 15

The Senate Education Committee revisited Education Quality Standards (EQSs) on Wednesday with Heather Bouchey (Deputy Secretary, Agency of Education).

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Changes to Election Laws - Feb 14, 2023

The House Government Operations Committee took up a draft elections bill on Tuesday that would, among other things, ban fusion candidates.

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Financial Literacy (H.228) - Feb 14, 2023

On Tuesday, Representative Jerome presented her bill, H.228, which would require high school juniors and seniors to receive financial literacy instruction as a condition of graduation.

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Reorganizing State Board of Education and Creating a Statewide SU

On Tuesday, Representative Elder introduced his bill, H.179, that re-organizes the State Board of Education (SBE). He believes it is important to recognize that the SBE is staffed by the Agency of Education (AOE). The bill largely re-introduces language from a 2020 Senate bill – S.166. He thinks it’s confusing to the public, saying that he thinks “it’s good to say the Secretary is in charge.” He believes it is not too late to make this structural change. The SBE has only acted independently for a dozen years or so. He also asserted that the Agency would support this bill.

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School Spending Update - Feb 14, 2023

Brad James shared with the House Ways & Means Committee on Tuesday that now 73% of districts are reporting (a significant jump from last week). With the latest budgets, the Agency is now showing an 8.2% increase from FY2024. Champlain Valley and Burlington are still not in yet, which are both large budgets and could sway the final numbers. James noted that if both went up by 10% it would increase the statewide average to 8.4%.

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Matt Dunne on Omnibus Housing Bill

Matt Dunne testified in front of the Senate Economic Development Committee Friday morning.

Key takeaways:

  • Flexibility is needed
  • Every community is different
  • There have been significant shifts in winners/losers over the past 40 years
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Mark-up: Clean Heat Standard (S.5) - Feb. 9-10, 2023

The Senate Natural Resources Committee came back to S.5 on Thursday for mark-up of the bill. Chairman Bray thought they were dealing with mostly just minor corrections at this point, fixing typos and minor date changes, etc. Larger discussion points were deferred until later.

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Vermont Futures Project on Omnibus Housing Bill

The Senate Economic Development Committee heard from more experts on Friday regarding their Omnibus Housing Bill.

Key Takeaways:

  • Permitting takes too long and is duplicative.
  • The housing market is changing.
  • Vermonters support expanding population and housing.
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Public Tuitioning Bill - Feb. 8, 2023

The House Education Committee met on Wednesday morning to discuss an outline of the potential committee bill around Vermont’s town tuitioning program.

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