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Public to private: State and independents struggle with school conversion

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When North Bennington turned its public school private this year, some people in the Statehouse and Agency of Education grew nervous.

What would this mean for local and state taxpayers, they wondered. For the Education Fund? For children in the district?

A moratorium and an outright ban on the same transition in other towns were floated in both the House and Senate, but ultimately lawmakers settled on a committee to study the issue further. That group met for the second time Wednesday morning. It’s off to a slow — but passionate — start.

Central to the sometimes edgy debate was all manner of access: Access to a full range of services for students with special needs, access to school choice for families and access to school records and accountability mechanisms for state officials and members of the public.

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