School board recommends $78.9 million 2019-20 budget

By SCOOTER MACMILLAN

The school board of the Champlain Valley School District finished its work on the 2019-20 budget that voters will consider on Town Meeting Day with tax rates kept tightly in check to support the $78.9 million spending plan.

Earlier this month, board members used one calculation that was revised by this week’s meeting so that the proposed new tax rates will be one cent less than anticipated.

This means that the proposed tax rate for Charlotte will be $1.48, Hinesburg, $1.45; Shelburne, $1.52; St. George, $1.55; and Williston, $1.53. Rates for Hinesburg and Shelburne stay level with the current tax rates; Charlotte’s is down one cent; St. George is up one penny and Williston up four cents.

The proposed $78.9 million budget is up $2 million over the current budget. Jeanne Jensen, the district’s chief operations officer said that district’s spending of $16,000 per student “falls roughly in the middle” of other school districts in Vermont.

The board unanimously approved the proposed budget.

In other discussion, Mark McDermott, director of labor relations, policy and legal services, said the board will have an item on its Feb. 19 agenda to discuss the district adopting a policy on cameras on school buses. He said that they have no cameras on buses now.

Jensen said that the district plans to install cameras inside and outside of the buses. Cameras will be on the stop arms and will take pictures of vehicles driving past stopped buses when warning lights are flashing, she said.

Mike Boardman with Hickock & Boardman Insurance Group gave a presentation on the school system’s insurance coverage for items other than health insurance, such as property, liability, Workman’s Compensation, auto, and directors and officers of the school system.

He said that the school system has $141 million commercial property insurance coverage of its buildings and their contents. He said he was confident that the system is not under-insured.

The board also went into closed executive session to discuss Superintendent Elaine Pinckney’s annual evaluation and strategies for negotiations in teacher and support staff contracts. No action was taken.

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