On May 29, 2024

Support the Slate Valley budget

Dear editor,

On May 9, the SVUUSD FY25 budget once again failed.

While this budget was defeated, it was by a much narrower margin than in the previous two votes. During a school board meeting on May 13, the board decided to schedule a revote on this budget for May 30, with an informational meeting set for May 29 at 6:30 p.m. in the band room at Fair Haven Union Middle and High School. 

The proposed budget for this vote is the same as the one voted on May 9.

The majority of the school board believes that Slate Valley’s current budget is already quite low, and they are striving to ensure adequate resources for some of the state’s most needy students. The majority board feels further cuts simply aren’t feasible. Moreover, the vast majority of attendees at the informational meetings voiced non-support for additional cuts, as our district already spends relatively little compared to others in the state. 

It is also worth noting that any cuts would have minimal impact on further reducing local taxes due to the complex statewide funding system. The rhetoric that there is a 20% increase in education taxes is simply not true for our district. All of our towns are under 20% and in fact Fair Haven is at 5.5% with the current proposed yield.

All of our towns, except for Benson, will have a tax rate increase that is less than the average tax rate increase of 13.8% that was cited by the governor, the press and others in Montpelier.

Our main focus will always be to provide the best education possible for our students while also maintaining financial responsibility. But please keep in mind the challenge before us in planning for the upcoming year without a budget. Summer services, except those for special education as mandated, are uncertain and may need to be canceled.

We thank our community for staying engaged and plead for them to please get out and vote May 30. Absentee ballots are available in all towns and can be requested from your town clerk. 

For more information visit: slatevalleyunified.org/o/svusd/page/budget

Brooke Olsen-Farrell

Superintendent of the Slate Valley Unified Union School District

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