News Briefs

Lakes Region

Fair Haven HS bests Rutland HS

Good work, Fair Haven scholars! Fair Haven students beat Rutland High’s team on PEGTV’s academic trivia show, 250 to 120. Fair Haven team members are Charlie Cacciatore, Trevor Reck, Zachary Caraballo, and Isaac Nichols; their coach is Torrey MacGregory.

Towns grapple with defeated budgets

Both Fair Haven and Benson school districts turned down their proposed school budgets. As a result, they are trying to level-fund their budgets in order for voters to pass them.

In Fair Haven, voters turned down a proposed $5,352,235 budget that called for an outlay of $14,051.72 per equalized pupil, a projected spending 7.9 percent higher than the current year. That budget failed by 33 votes, 378 to 345. Fair Haven voters will have the opportunity to reconsider the budget May 3.

The ballot result in Benson mirrored that of Fair Haven. The school budget drew 26 fewer “yes” votes than “nos,” 133 to 159. Benson’s state-mandated re-vote is set for May 10.

Per-pupil costs may rise even though a budget is level-funded or decreases, whether the shrinkage stems from loss of pupils or grant/tuition funds. Both schools had lost pupils and tuition funding.

Changes in Benson’s student population enable Benson to decrease its budget some $120,000 in special education expenditures. Although Benson also loses revenue as a result, the net result is a $26,000 cost decrease, Addison-Rutland Supervisory Union Superintendent Ron Ryan told the Benson School Board March 8.

Technically, Benson’s revised budget that the voters will see in May is $940 lower than last year’s, with an equalized cost per pupil dropping from $14,988 to $14,209. The legislature-mandated budget language remains frustrating to school board members though, stating that per-pupil costs are 8 percent higher, observed Benson School Board member Amy Munger.
The same feeling is likely in Fair Haven. Although the revised budget could come down by $38,000 to reach level funding numbers, the per-pupil cost increase will not change, and it too will be on the ballot voters face in May.

Seats remain open in Poultney

Although more than 800 individuals voted in Poultney’s March 1 election, voter participation at the polls does not indicate involvement in town government throughout the year. A one-year seat on the Select Board remains open.

On the other hand, voters approved both general and highway budget; the Poultney Town School District budget; and transferring a $20,000 surplus into a Capital Maintenance Reserve fund.

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