BARRE — There are still a few decisions to make, but the slate of candidates interested in running for what will be central Vermont’s newest school board is now set.
Most candidates didn’t flirt with Monday’s 5 p.m. filing deadline, turning in their nominating petitions to serve on the board of the soon-to-be-launched Barre Unified Union School District before the weekend.
There were a couple of exceptions — both in Barre — including one that created a contested election.
The list of candidates includes some familiar names because nine of the 11 currently serve on one of the three boards the new board will replace on July 1.
Though all of them can’t win, the field includes three members of the Barre City School Board, three members of the Barre Town School Board and three members of the Spaulding High School Board — two from Barre Town and one from Barre.
All three board chairs are in the mix, and two of them are running unopposed.
Most have had practice running for a merged board, because voters in Barre and Barre Town have elected two of them since an Act 46-inspired merger was first placed on the ballots more than two years ago.
Candidates Paul Malone and Guy Isabelle are running for a third time.
Isabelle, who represents Barre Town on the Spaulding board, is running unopposed for the lone “at-large” seat. He won the same seat in 2016 by defeating Giuliano Cecchinelli II in a race that was jointly decided by voters in Barre and Barre Town and was elected again last year.
Malone, who currently serves as chairman of the Spaulding board, is running for one of two two-year seats, and School Director Victoria Pompei is running for the other.
Another Spaulding school director created a three-way race for two one-year seats on the new board. Tim Boltin joins Barre School Commissioner Christopher Riddell and William Toborg in the race for two of the city’s four directly elected seats.
Two other members of the city’s school board – Cecchinelli and Chairwoman Sonya Spaulding – are both running unopposed.
Cecchinelli, who was elected to one of the four city-only seats last year, is running unopposed for a two-year term. Spaulding, who was elected to the merged board in 2016 but didn’t run last year, is the lone candidate for a three-year seat.
Alice Farrell, chairwoman of the Barre Town School Board, and School Director Rebecca Kerin-Hutchins are both running for the same one-year seat on the board.
Barre Town resident Gina Akley is also running for the board again. She was elected to the board last year and is the only candidate for a three-year seat representing Barre Town.
Unlike most of the other candidates, Akley isn’t currently serving on a school board. She did, however, serve as chairwoman of the committee that recommended the last merger to voters.
Though the merger was overwhelmingly approved by Barre voters in November 2016 and again two years later, it was rejected by wide margins in Barre Town on both occasions. A pair of petitioned re-votes failed to reverse those results, though a clear majority of town voters supported the merger, 952-534, in January.
By then, the Vermont Board of Education had already ordered the creation of a pre-K-12 school district that will included centralized elementary schools in Barre and Barre Town, as well as jointly owned Spaulding High School.
Ballots should be available for early voting by early next week. The elections will be held on April 9 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Barre Municipal Auditorium for city voters and Barre Town Middle & Elementary School for town voters.
Once elected, the new board is expected to swiftly warn a vote on a consolidated budget for the new district. School officials have suggested May 14 as a possible date because it coincides with Barre Town’s municipal elections.