Roughly $1.4 million in cuts have been made in next year’s school budget (FY17) because of Act 46.
A “no” vote would have resulted in even more drastic cuts.
Burlington voters, we believe the proposed budget warranted a YES for a simple reason: We are still digging out from the mistakes of the past, and are now being burdened by the restrictions of Act 46. The latter is not fixable in the voting booth on Town Meeting Day in Burlington, but in Montpelier.
The law clearly did not take into account districts such as Burlington, which are seeing strains unlike many other districts in Vermont. A NO vote would force even greater cuts — ones that will exacerbate our long-term budgeting problems, not solve them. With this budget, we will have cut $5 million over the past three years.
No one likes to see budget cuts in a time of need, but the alternative, if rejected, is much worse and will require far more sacrifice from our kids as a result. Please vote YES on Town Meeting Day.
Why so many cuts? In a nutshell: a new state law, Act 46, limits the amount of growth we can have in our budget before a penalty kicks in. But items like salaries and healthcare have set year-to-year increases that are larger than the law allows. Therefore cuts are needed to stay within the allowable limit (the law was amended by the legislature in January 2016, but at too late a date to change Burlington’s budget as the deadline for submitting it for the ballot had passed). Read the FAQ page for more details on Act 46, how school budgets are financed, and how this affects your taxes.
You can also find out more about what is in the budget by visiting the Burlington School District’s new budget page.
Thank you again for voting YES to pass the budget on town meeting day, March 1, 2016.