July 21, 2019

REGION & STATE: New initiatives strain education agency

By Tiffany Danitz Pache
For Vermont Digger
Over the past few years, lawmakers have asked more and more of the Agency of Education.
First they passed Act 77, then Act 166, and then last year, they adopted new Education Quality Standards.
Each new initiative demands more staff time from the agency, but when the governor signed Act 46 this past June, officials said the workload intensity hit a whole new level.
No new positions were created for the agency to deal with the new initiatives. In fact, the workforce at the agency has declined 31 percent since fiscal year 2008.
“This is one of the biggest financial operations in the state,” said Bill Mathis, a member of the State Board of Education (SBE). Mathis has worked as a school policy consultant in more than a dozen states and he said, “Frankly, I have never seen an agency stripped out as much as this one is.”

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