School board takes budget information on the road ahead of March 6 vote

On Town Meeting Day, March 6, voters in the five communities of the Champlain Valley School District will all be asked the same, single question on whether they approve the proposed $76,838,041 budget for the 2018-19 school year.

It’s the first time the district has drafted one spending plan that covers all school operations from preschool through 12th grade, and it represents an increase in spending of just 2.3 percent over the budget that’s in place for the current school year.

As part of a statewide trend stemming from a push from Montpelier, the district’s member communities – Charlotte, Hinesburg, St. George, Shelburne and Williston – just last year agreed to merge all of their schools into one unified district, operating under one budget.

The new, single, 12-member school board created to run the consolidated district recently completed its work on this year’s proposed budget that the March 6 ballot question will pose.

In addition to the budget, voters will also see questions on whether to borrow up to $485,000 to purchase six new buses and whether to use $819,665 of unspent funds from the recent building renovation project at Shelburne Community School for repairs at other school facilities in the district.

The board has scheduled a series of public informational meetings in locations across the district between now and Town Meeting Day to review their spending plan, talk with voters, and answer questions.

Unlike in past years when each individual elementary district and the high school printed and mailed budget reports, the new combined district will refrain from a mass-mailing of reports. Instead, paper-copy reports will be available after Feb. 12 at town and school offices in each community. Individuals may request a copy by mail by calling the district office at 985-1914. The annual report and budget are also available online at cvsdvt.org.

Here is a list of upcoming informational meetings about the school budget by town.

CHARLOTTE
• Thursday, Feb. 15 (new date), at 11 a.m., Charlotte Senior Center
• Monday, March 5, at 6 p.m., Charlotte Central School

HINESBURG
• Thursday, Feb. 15, 6:30 p.m., Hinesburg Community School; in the Flexspace as part of the Partners in Education (PiE) agenda.
• Thursday, Feb. 22, 6 p.m., CVU Room 160. This is the official annual meeting where items listed on the official warning to be voted in person will be decided. These are mainly procedural items such as hearing reports from district officials, authorizing the school board to borrow money and manage printed annual reports, and setting the date for the 2019 annual meeting.
The key spending questions and elections will be on the March 6 ballots that voters will cast in their communities between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.
• Monday, March 5, 4 p.m., CVU High School, Room 160. This is the final official warned meeting of the full board prior to the Town Meeting Day vote.

SHELBURNE
• Tuesday, Feb. 13, 6 p.m., Shelburne Community School; on the Shelburne PTO agenda
• Monday, March 5, 7 p.m., Shelburne Community School gym

ST. GEORGE
• Thursday, Feb. 15, 7 p.m. St. George Town Hall; on Selectboard agenda

WILLISTON
• Thursday, Feb. 8, 8:15 a.m., Williston Central School dining room
• Monday, March 5, 7 p.m., Williston Central School

ALSO
• Channel 17 studios on Monday, Feb. 12, 5:35 p.m.; live forum sponsored by the CVSD Board of Directors

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