- Associated Press - Wednesday, August 19, 2015

BARRE, Vt. (AP) - The Vermont Board of Education has approved plans for the first school governance merger.

The board on Tuesday signed off on a proposal to merge Essex, Essex Junction and Westford school districts, under Act 46, with a unanimous vote in Barre.

It will move to a public vote on Nov. 3.

The recently passed Act 46 law aims to tackle the state’s declining student population and rising property taxes by providing tax incentives to districts that merge voluntarily.

If the proposal is approved by voters in the three towns, the merger could take effect in 2017 with tax breaks for residents and one school board for more than 3,700 students.

Chittenden Central Supervisory Union Superintendent Judith DeNova says the new district could save about $1 million over five years.

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