State News

Pre-TMD: Flood grants and ed funding

The Vermont Legislature is now on its Town Meeting week break. It is an opportunity for us to go to town/information meetings, meet with constituents, and re-energize our personal batteries. My hope is to get to 12 town/information meetings this year. I represent 25 towns, this is a great time to get a better sense of some of the different places I represent and an opportunity to re-appreciate this treasured Vermont tradition. 

Before we left the State House, we passed the Budget Adjustment Act (BAA) which adjusts the FY24 state budget. The BAA addressed a number of additional state needs from emergency housing to adult basic education. And it allocated $23.5 million to our most flood impacted municipalities for much needed repairs of sewer systems and other damaged infrastructure. Of the 25 most impacted towns, nine are in Windsor County. And, while many towns will receive some financial support, Ludlow will receive the most, almost $3 million to help repair their devastated waste water system. Here is a link to the funds allocated to each flood impacted town:

In addition, the Legislature passed a fix to an education funding problem that resulted from 2022’s A. This year some key cost drivers have challenged our schools as they created their budgets: a 16.4% increase in teacher’s health care, the end of one-time federal Covid/ESSER funds, overall inflation, and the debt service on new capital projects or renovations. And an aspect of Act 127 misled some school boards to think they had more financial protection than they had.

Act 127, known as the pupil weighting bill, led to budgeting confusion, and sent inaccurate messages about what was possible without raising taxes. Many school boards thought they could raise budgets 5%. However, the 5 % cap in Act 127 was designed for one purpose: to help districts hit particularly hard by the changes in pupil weighting adjust over time to accommodate those changes. The “5% cap” mechanism in Act 127 has not behaved as expected, preventing the Legislature from taking necessary steps to reduce property tax rates for Vermonters, across towns.

We had to address the flaws in this mechanism immediately. We did so in passing H.850, which repeals the 5% cap transition mechanism established in 2022’s Act 127 and replaces it with new tax rate transition mechanism to be implemented between fiscal years 2025 and 2029. This new mechanism will grant a discount to some district homestead property tax rates for those districts negatively impacted by the new weighting system. We will continue to work on these education funding concerns when the Session starts up again March 12.

Sen. Clarkson appreciates hearing from you. She can be reached by email: or by phone at the Statehouse (Tues-Fri) 802-828-2228 or at home (Sat-Mon) 802- 457-4627. For more information on the Vermont Legislature, visit:

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