School Commissioner Update

Thanks once again to all of the voters who supported the budget for the coming year, and to those who donated their time, effort, and various extremities to hand out flyers in the cold March weather. It is a real testament to this community’s commitment to public education.

The March school board meeting is generally pretty quiet, and tonight was no exception. The Board took a few minutes to thank outgoing commissioners Kate Baldwin (Ward 1) and Loyal Ploof (Ward 3) for their service on the Board, and to welcome the District’s new Special Education Director, former Edmunds principal Bonnie Poe. Superintendent Jeanne Collins also announced that Kevin Barber has been appointed Acting Principal at Edmunds and Donna Roberts has been made Assistant Principal. A search will be held to appoint a principal at Edmunds in time for the opening of school in the fall.

In a brief meeting before the full Board meeting, the Finance Committee reviewed bids to replace the heating pipes in the Hunt Middle School and the elevator at the high school. The Finance Committee recommended to the full board that the low bids (both from Clemons Construction in Middlesex, Vermont) be approved. Taken together, they total just over $800,000, although the District ultimately will be reimbursed 30 percent of that cost by the state. For a variety of reasons, the work at Hunt is more expensive than was originally anticipated and as a result, the replacement of the windows in the Edmunds Middle School will be delayed by one year. The Board adopted the Finance Committee’s recommendation, so those projects will get under way shortly. The Finance Committee will be meeting again next Tuesday night (the 21st) at Champlain School at 5 p.m. Later that same evening (starting at 6 p.m.), the Equity Task Force will also be meeting at Champlain.

The only other significant discussion involved the approval of a list of teachers in the District who will receive pink slips. Under the current contract, any such notices must be sent out by March 28, and this is the last regularly scheduled Board meeting before that date. The list this year is a result of the position cuts that the Board made in the budget that it submitted to the voters on Town Meeting Day. The Burlington Education Association will be reviewing the list to make sure that no errors in seniority have been made. If any changes have to be made in the list of teachers affected, the Board will hold a special meeting before the 28th to consider the issue.

The next regularly scheduled meeting of the Board is its annual reorganization meeting, which will be held at the Ira Allen Building on Colchester Avenue on April 4th at 7 p.m.

If anyone has any questions, please feel free to e-mail me ( or fellow Ward 5 Commissioner Amy Werbel (

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