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January 13, 2015 Education Legislative Report
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January 13, 2015 – Issue #2
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Table of Contents:

  1. Legislative Session Gets Underway; Education Committees Assigned
  2. Governor Re-Elected; Secretary Holcombe Addresses the Full House
  3. Education-Related Bills
     

Legislative Session Gets Underway; Education Committees Assigned

The session began last Wednesday with the reelection of Rep. Shap Smith as Speaker. The Speaker focused a significant portion of his opening remarks to the assembled House on education quality and cost.  “One of our fundamental obligations as a government is to provide a world class education to our children,” he said.  “But, with property taxes increasing and outpacing Vermonters ability to pay, we must look with a clear eye at the results that we are getting for the money we are spending. We must also hear the voices of our constituents who are saying that they cannot afford greater taxation in times of economic instability…This issue is above politics, it’s beyond partisan divide. We must come together on all sides of the aisle to tackle the great challenge of providing an affordable education that is equitable for all of the children of Vermont so that they all have the promise and opportunity that we saw in the 1970’s and 1980’s and 90’s and 2000’s. We need to do that.” 
 
After the morning session, the Speaker announced his committee assignments, including a reconstituted Education Committee that will focus on both education policy and education funding.  The members of the House Committee on Education are:
 
Chair:  Representative Dave Sharpe (D)of Bristol; veteran lawmaker, former vice chair of the Ways and Means Committee 
Bio: http://legislature.vermont.gov/people/single/2016/14544
 
Vice Chair: Representative Bernie Juskiewicz (R)of Cambridge; last biennium a member of the House Education Committee 
Bio: http://legislature.vermont.gov/people/single/2016/20384
 
Ranking Member: Representative Kevin “Coach” Christie (D) of Hartford; last biennium a member of the House Education Committee
Bio: http://legislature.vermont.gov/people/single/2016/15774
 
Representative Scott Beck (R) of St. Johnsbury  - newly-elected 
Bio: http://legislature.vermont.gov/people/single/2016/23996
 
Representative Sarah Buxton (D) of Tunbridge -  last biennium a member of the House Education Committee 
Bio: http://legislature.vermont.gov/people/single/2016/15772

Representative Larry Cupoli (R) of Rutland City - last biennium a member of the House Education Committee
Bio: http://legislature.vermont.gov/people/single/2016/20387

Representative Tim Jerman (D) of Essex-Junction - last biennium a member of the House Natural Resources and Energy Committee 
Bio: http://legislature.vermont.gov/people/single/2016/14575

Representative Emily Long (D) of Newfane - newly elected
Bio: http://legislature.vermont.gov/people/single/2016/24012

Representative Ann Manwaring (D) of Wilmington - last biennium a member of the House Appropriations Committee
Bio: http://legislature.vermont.gov/people/single/2016/14597
 
Representative Alice Miller (D) of Shaftsbury -  last biennium a member of the House Appropriations Committee 
Bio: http://legislature.vermont.gov/people/single/2016/14524
 
Representative Kurt Wright (R) of Burlington -  last biennium a member of the House Committee on Transportation
Bio: http://legislature.vermont.gov/people/single/2016/14539


The Senate Committees were announced on Friday afternoon.   The members of the Senate Committee on Education are: 

Chair: Sen. Ann Cummings (D), of Montpelier, also a member of the Senate Committee on Economic Development, Housing and General Affairs. Bio at: http://legislature.vermont.gov/people/single/2016/14604

Vice Chair: Sen. Bill Doyle (R) of Montpelier, also a member of the Senate Committee on Economic Development, Housing and General Affairs. Bio: http://legislature.vermont.gov/people/single/2016/14605

Sen. Phillip Baruth (D), of Burlington. Also serves on  the Senate Committee on Economic Development, Housing and General Affairs. Bio: http://legislature.vermont.gov/people/single/2016/15791

Sen. David Zuckerman (P/D), of Hinesburg. Also Vice Chair of Senate Committee on Agriculture. 
Bio: http://legislature.vermont.gov/people/single/2016/20397

Sen. Brian Campion (D), of Bennington. Formerly Representative of Bennington 2-1. Also a member of Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Energy. Bio: http://legislature.vermont.gov/people/single/2016/24030

Sen. Dustin Degree (R), of St. Albans. Newly elected in 2014. Bio: http://legislature.vermont.gov/people/single/2016/24032 

Information on the committees such as weekly agenda, staff contact information and meeting location can be found for the Senate Committee at
http://legislature.vermont.gov/committee/detail/2016/24
and for the House Committee at 
http://legislature.vermont.gov/committee/detail/2016/10.
As elected or professional leaders of your school districts and supervisory unions, you can and should serve in an important role as a voice for public education.  As your state associations, we strive to be strong representatives of the concerns of education officials but there is no substitute for contact between legislators and their local constituents.  We encourage you to read our Reports, keep abreast of issues, and form or strengthen relationships between yourself and the representatives elected from your districts.  Click on this link to find contact information for legislators organized by each supervisory union.

Go to top.

Governor Re-Elected; Secretary Holcombe Addresses the Full House

On Thursday, legislators cast their ballots to elect Vermont’s next governor.  Peter Shumlin was elected handily, 110-69.  Following his election, Governor Shumlin delivered an inaugural address that primarily focused on clean energy and the environment.  He is expected to spend a significant portion of his budget address this Thursday on education issues.
 
Secretary of Education Rebecca Holcombe addressed legislators in the House chamber on Friday, Jan 9.  In a speech similar to one she has delivered in many areas of the state over the past few months, she gave a primer on Vermont education including AOE's goals for students and the challenges facing teachers and schools. Specific challenges included balancing scarce resources, equity and affordability, declining enrollment, and property taxes.  For more in-depth coverage of her presentation, read this article on VTDigger.
 
Secretary Holcombe will appear before the House Education Committee on Thursday, Jan. 15 at 9:00. 
 

CORRECTION: In last week’s issue of the Education Legislative Report, we reported that school districts would spend $20 million in 2015 on health insurance benefits.   The actual figure is $202 million.
 

Education-Related Bills

The following bills impacting education have been introduced so far this session:
 
H.18: Rep. Sweany, Rep. Hubert, Rep. Martin: An Act relating to Public Records Act exemptions. 
 
S. 18: Sen. Benning: establishes a private right of action for a person whose health care information is improperly disclosed by another person. 
 
S. 15: Senators Baruth, Sirotkin, Lyons, McCormack, Pollina, and Zuckerman: proposes to ensure that employees accrue a minimum number of hours of paid sick time annually and prohibits employers from penalizing employees who use their accrued sick time.
 
S. 9: Sen. Ayer, Sen. Sears, Sen. Cummings, Sen. Flory, Sen. Kitchel, Sen. Mullin: S. 9 An act relating to improving Vermont's system for protecting children from abuse and neglect. 
 
 
Published By: Vermont School Boards Association, Vermont Superintendents Association, Vermont Principals’ Association, Vermont Council of Special Education Administrators, Vermont Association of School Business Officials and VSBIT 
Attn: Nicole Mace, 2 Prospect St., Montpelier, VT 05602 (802)-223-3580