Committee to hash out new name for consolidated school district

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Community members who approved a plan to consolidate school districts in Essex Town, Village and Westford will meet on Monday to discuss what to name the new, unified district.

The unified district has been loosely called the Essex Westford Unified Union School District, but as some of the 20 committee member noted, the term doesn’t roll off the tongue. A union-naming subcommittee was formed following the June 30 vote to approve a merger, and discussions will be open to the public. Cathy Printon, an Essex Town resident, is the chair of the subcommittee.

Some of the ideas that emerged from the last meeting of the schools merger committee were “community school district” taking out the redundancy of “unified union,” which came from the state. Other ideas included the “Ira Allen School District” for the state founder, or “Alder Brook School District,” named for the stream that runs from northern Westford to Essex and dumps out into the Winooski River.

The merger committee chairman Brendan Kinney said the idea was to “brainstorm and come up with a new name for the district.”

“I imagine it will only take a meeting or two to come up with a proposed name for the new union district, that’s really their charge,” he said. “There’ve been lots of ideas that have been floated around, but I think we just need to decide once and for all what the union will named,” he said.

Subcommittee member and Essex Junction school board member Marla Dunham emphasized that “anyone is welcome to attend.”

Ben Dickie, a communications coordinator for the Chittenden Central Supervisory Union, the district that oversees Westford and village primary schools, said he anticipated the group may only meet once.

“Hopefully they’ll decide on something and it will get approval. I don’t know if they’re going to suggest something or how it’s going to work,” he added.

A finalized name, once approved by the greater committee, would then be included in committee’s unification documents that must be filed with the state Agency of Education by Aug. 1.

The naming subcommittee meets Monday, July 27 at the Essex High School library, 2 Educational Drive, at 5:30 p.m.

— Jess Wisloski