At Town Meeting, May 1, 2022, questions arose with regard to the origin of the James Cusick Scholarship fund. In researching the fund, the following is the history and requirements.
On March 7, 1978 at Town Meeting the voters passed article #16, establishing the Town of Vernon Scholarship Fund to assist Vernon students pursuing higher education. On November 30, 1989 the Selectboard voted to change the name of the fund to The James Cusick Scholarship fund in honor of James Cusick a long-time educator and resident of Vernon. This vote was ratified at Town Meeting 1990 with article #40.
In researching, just the last 10 years, 322 scholarships were awarded from this fund.
The Town of Vernon requirements to apply for the scholarship are as follows:
1. An application shall be submitted to the Selectboard Chairperson or the Town Clerk no later than 4:00 P.M. or the close of normal business hours on July 1st of each year.
2. Any Vernon resident as determined by V.S.A. 16: 1075 may apply for a scholarship for assistance for up to a total of four years, each year the resident may reapply. The purpose of the scholarship fund is for the resident to further their education or training upon receipt of a high school diploma or an equivalent as determined by the Vermont Department of Education. The resident shall become eligible for the scholarship upon receipt of the application by the Selectboard Chairperson or the Town Clerk within six years of the date of graduation. A resident becomes ineligible at the end of the sixth year from when his/her high school diploma or equivalent certificate was awarded.
3. Applicant must have been eligible to attend the Vernon School system for a minimum of five academic years as a resident immediately prior to receipt of the high school diploma or the equivalent.
4. Each full-time resident recipient shall receive $1,000.00 (or the amount voted) for two semesters at an institution of higher learning, a certified training center, or a vocational school. If the amount of the appropriation is not sufficient, it shall be divided equally among the students selected.
5. For less than a full-time post-secondary status, a pro-rata reduction in the amount of the scholarship will be made, but in no case will a less than 50% status for an academic year, as determined by the school, be eligible for the scholarship.
6. The student is responsible to provide verification to the Town Clerk by January 15 that they have completed the first semester and are enrolled for the second semester. Acceptable forms of verification are:
1. Verification form provided by the Town Clerk
2. Student grade report
3. Tuition bill
4. Letter of enrollment
5. Any other official document form from the school that satisfies the enrollment verification.
7. Checks will be issued each year during the last two weeks of January, payable to the Vernon resident and mailed to the student’s home address unless otherwise stipulated.
8. Any scholarship recipient, whose status changes during or before the academic year, is fully responsible for notifying the Town Clerk of the change. Any scholarship recipient who receives an award for which they are ineligible due to said status change, residency, or other requirements outlined above, will be responsible for reimbursing the town within ninety days.
9. The Selection Committee is the Chairperson of the Vernon School Board, Chairperson of the Vernon Selectboard, and the Principal of the Vernon Elementary School. All decisions of the Committee shall be by majority vote. The Selection Committee will review applications no later than July 15th. Students will be notified within five days of the Committee’s decision.
Any request for reconsideration must be made in writing within ten calendar days following the initial decision. The request must be made by the resident and must cite the specific details needing to be reconsidered. Any reconsideration of the Committee’s decision must be made by a majority vote of the Committee and the decision of the Committee is final.
Application forms are available at the Vernon Town Clerk’s Office.
Treasurer, Town of Vernon