Peaslee will serve on Act 46 study board

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POWNAL — Pownal's newest school board member will be its next representative on the Southwest Vermont Supervisory Union's Act 46 study committee.

Jon Peaslee is a veteran member of the Pownal, SVSU, and Career Development Center school board, and has been a lister for the town. After taking some time off from school boards, he ran unopposed this March to fill the spot on the board vacated by the departing Jim O'Connor. O'Connor was also Pownal's representative on the last formal Act 46 committee, and on the informal exploratory committee that existed in the interim.

Cynthia Brownell and Angie Rawling will continue as chairwoman and vice-chairwoman of the Pownal School Board, respectively. Rawling and Peaslee will represent Pownal on the SVSU board, with Rawling serving as the alternate.

"(The goal of) Act 46 is to form a consolidated committee, a consolidated school district," said Brownell, "A lot of us aren't for it. We can vote not to be on the study committee, but I think it would be wise if we do." The board at a special meeting on Thursday to join the new committee 4-0, as Rawling was not present.

Peaslee was the first to volunteer to serve as Pownal's representative on the committee. "I'll volunteer to go, but the thing is, I'm not a patient person," he said, "If I'm going to represent Pownal, you have to understand, I speak from where I come from. I don't hold back. I'm representing you, so if you can understand that and put up with it, I'm fine with it."

"I think that's the stupidest thing the state can do," said Peaslee, "Because we're supposed to team up with Stamford? Stamford and Pownal are going to be together, which is... they're worlds apart, you can't get there from here. Stupid things like that, it's just ridiculous." The SVSU's study committees, both formal and informal, did not discuss the possibility of a merger with Stamford, and there is no indication the new committee will pursue those discussions. The now-defunct exploratory committee recommended that the formal committee pursue a model similar to what exists now in the Mount Anthony Union District, but encompassing grades pre-k through 12, and including only the towns that are part of the MAU now.

"I'll go, but you have to understand, I'm not going to be pleasant," Peaslee continued, "or I may not be pleasant."

"That's what we want," said Brownell, whose husband Nelson is the current chairman of the SVSU board, at least until their re-organization meeting on Wednesday. "We don't want a yes-person, we want somebody who's going to represent our board." She said that the board could determine its official position on Act 46 at their April meeting, when Rawling is present.

Reach staff writer Derek Carson at 802-447-7567, ext. 122 or @DerekCarsonBB

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