The Readers Write

Bright Light’s Project gets green light

An activism project for the Champlain Valley Union (CVU) High School class Money, Energy and Power titled “Bright Light’s Project” is aimed at benefiting the Hinesburg community.

The traffic light at the intersection of CVU Road/Shelburne Falls Road and Route 116 has been identified as a system that can be improved and made more efficient. Many CVU students and citizens of Hinesburg are idling in unnecessary traffic.

The light for Route 116 does not allow for the people turning left onto CVU Road to do so safely. This is because drivers coming north from the town of Hinesburg create a constant flow of traffic that builds up, so that when the light turns green on Route 116 going south, drivers turning left onto CVU Road are blocked. This creates a large problem especially in the morning when students of CVU are trying to get to school.

Students are not the only ones affected. Citizens of Hinesburg and other commuters trying to go straight through the light are blocked by the cars waiting to turn left.

The class goal is to help reduce environmental pollution from idling, maintain a steady traffic flow through CVU Road and Hinesburg, and help the public save gas money.

To do this we will encourage the state to reprogram the light so that Route 116 South gets a green light before Route 116 North does. This will allow for several people to get through the light, including people turning left, before the south bound traffic receives a green light.

Please take 10 seconds out of your day to limit the amount of unnecessary traffic and idling by signing the petition to change the light on Route 116.

Sign the online petition at: http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/bright-lights-project-go-green.

Keller Longchamp, Nicole Bouffard, Amelia Dodds, and Jack Carnahan, CVU students

Special ed assessments explained

As the chair of the SCS School Board, I wanted to write in and clarify a few of the statements made in Gail Callahan’s article in the Dec 18 edition of the Shelburne News, “School Board Jumps Into Budget Season.” While the article does state correctly that the CSSU assessment for special education in the ’15-’16 budget is now $2,900,104, up from $190,111 in the current ’14-’15 budget, this does not mean that this cost of special education has increased by approximately $2.7 million.

Rather, due to Act 153, all special education costs must now be handled at the supervisory union level, and then allocated back to its member schools. This law has reached an important phase with the creation of this budget where special education costs usually seen in the individual Shelburne budget are now seen in the CSSU budget.  These costs are then realized at SCS as purchased services from the CSSU. When comparing the actual value of special education services delivered to students at SCS, this number has gone up only $220,000 from the current ’14-’15 budget to the ’15-’16 budget.

This change from the past budget to the current budget is mostly an accounting change, and when viewed relative to the CSSU budget only, can look like a staggering increase. However, it is a state mandated change that can bring positive benefits to managing costs across the CSSU, while not changing the way actual services are delivered here at SCS. In looking at the baseline budget mentioned in the article, one would note that the budget increase is nowhere near the $2.7 million implied.

The SCS School Board is working hard to reduce the 5.87 percent increase quoted in the article, since we are sensitive to voter feedback received at our budget forums and budget meetings. The next budget forum will be on Jan. 13 at 7pm in a joint meeting with the Town of Shelburne. If you have any questions on the budget, and wish to see the final budget to be presented on Town Meeting Day, we welcome them at that time, and at any time before then.

Dave Connery, Shelburne School District Board Chair