Governor Scott’s proposal to level-fund school budgets statewide was shut down (mostly due to time and logistics) but there are other troubling parts of his proposal that would affect Burlington schools.
In addition to proposing level-funding the schools statewide, the governor proposed that two newly created expenses, early child care and tuition assistance, would be paid for from the state education fund (which collects and manages our property tax payments), and one large expense, teacher retirement costs, would be transferred from the state general fund to the education fund. This means that, even if we level-funded the schools, our property tax bills would still go up because of the added expense to the state education fund.
State legislators have shut down the proposal to level-fund the school districts due mostly to limited time and logistics (budgets are already approved and ballots have gone to print for the March 7 vote). However, the governor is still looking for ways to leverage the education fund and its source of revenue, property taxes, to repair an imbalance to the general fund without raising state taxes. And, the level funding idea could be brought back to the table another year.
Please contact your legislators and Scott’s office right away to let them know how you feel about this proposal. In addition here some ways to find our more and have your voices heard:
1) Our local legislators and the Burlington School District have organized a town hall style meeting where they plan to “answer questions and engage people in small groups.” This meeting will be held in the Edmunds cafeteria (275 Main St. Burlington) on Saturday Feb 11 from 9-11 AM.
Sen. Phil Baruth (Chair of Education Committee)
Sen. Ginny Lyons (Ranking Member of Finance Committee)
Sen. Chris Pearson
Rep. Jill Krowinski
Rep. Brian Cina
Rep. Selene Colburn
Rep. Carol Ode
Rep. Mary Sullivan
Rep. Johannah Donovan
Rep. Kurt Wright
2) The Vermont House and Senate Committees on Appropriations are seeking public input on the FY 2018 Governor’s Proposed State Budget and will hold community-based public hearings on Monday, February 13, 2017, 6:00 – 7:00 p.m. at the 6 locations across the state. The nearest one to us is Winooski: Community College of Vermont, Janice Couture Room (108).
3) An additional public hearing will be held on Thursday, February 16, 2017, 6:00 – 7:00 p.m. in room 11 of the State House in Montpelier.