On March 6, 2024

School budgets struggle


By Polly Mikula

The Barstow school budget, Article 10, was defeated by just 4 votes — 379 (no) to 375 (yes). The proposed budget was $6,273,856, up about 12% over last year.

But the actual education tax rate in Chittenden would increase 31%, from $1.38 after adjusted for the common level of appraisal to $1.81. The increase for Chittenden residents is now estimated to be $430 per $100,000 of home assessment, based on current statewide projected education spending proposals. In Mendon, the tax rate would increase 28% from $1.20 after adjusted for the common level of appraisal to $1.54. The increase for Mendon residents is now estimated to be $340 per $100,000 of home assessment.

Otter Valley Unified Union School District school budget vote was also defeated with a margin of 891-yes to 1,325-no. Its budget was also about 12% over last year with proposed FY25 budget of $27,247,823.

Rutland Town rejects school budget and $4m school bond

Voters in Rutland Town defeated both the school budget and a $4 million bond.

The $10.7 million budget, which represents a 7.6% increase over FY24, failed 609-578.

The school bond failed 687-500. It called for $450,000 worth of first-floor flooring and asbestos abatement and a roughly $3.4 million to renovate the school’s second floor (the price was inclusive of furniture, air conditioning and other such modern amenities.)

According to Rutland Town School board member Collin Fingon, the board would need to cut 32% of its current spending to achieve a flat budget this year.

The second floor expansion was presented as a crucial need to combat a lack of space caused by a growing student population — a ‘problem’ not many other Vermont communities face.

The board had proposed that space be used as a dedicated middle school wing, featuring three classrooms, a special education classroom, an intervention and conference room, a common space, three bathrooms and storage closets.

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