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Lawsuits and slashed tires: Vermont’s school funding battle

The state made education funding more fair, but it also made a lot of people mad.

Bryd Pinkerton/Vox

All across the country, it seems like a given: Places with more expensive houses have nicer schools because they can raise more money. That’s just how education seems to work.

Except in Vermont.

Two decades ago, the state passed a radical law that aimed to equalize education funding.

The law (and subsequent tweaks) made it much easier for towns with regular houses to raise money for their schools — almost as easy as it was for towns with expensive vacation homes. That’s because the Vermont funding model asks rich towns to pay higher taxes to subsidize the schools in less affluent places.

On this episode of The Impact, we’ll tell you how this model came about.

It’s the story of one woman named Carol Brigham, her young daughter Amanda, and their fight to save the tiny school that is the heart of their small Vermont town.