What’s on the school ballot: Champlain Valley Union School District to hold public meetings on the proposed budget

The Champlain Valley School District’s Board of Directors is looking to share information regarding the proposed budget for the 2019-2020 school year.

Article VII asks voters to approve a consolidated budget for operating all schools in the five towns of the 4000-student Champlain Valley School District for the next fiscal year starting July 1, 2019. The proposed budget for operations and maintenance of the district’s six schools is $78,901,170, an increase of 2.7 percent from the prior year.

The proposed budget covers large increases in the cost of health insurance (11 percent) as well as contractually obligated salary increases and increases in the cost of goods and services driven by inflation. Staffing increases required in order to meet class size goals were largely offset by reductions in other areas. Increases are partially offset by reductions made possible through district consolidation.

In the second year as a merged system, the district estimates savings of $331,000 due to consolidation for a total of $612,000 over the first three years. These savings include reductions in audit costs, board costs, operations administration, transportation efficiencies and controlling the savings which come from teacher retirements.

Article VIII asks voters to approve applying some of the district’s fund balance to offset taxes. Because consolidation allows for pooling all revenue and expenses, the district is in a position to draw down cash reserves left over from prior years’ budgets. This article asks voters to authorize the Board of School Directors to assign $500,000 as revenue for the 2019-2020 school year (reducing the tax amount needed to be raised in this year’s budget cycle), assign up to $1,000,000 of the school district’s current fund balance to the District’s Construction Fund for facilities repairs and maintenance projects, and assign the remaining balance $1,829,698 as revenue for future budgets

The district has divided the maintenance plan into immediate needs and long-term projects. The immediate needs are those that directly affect the health and safety of students and staff. Article VIII on this year’s ballot asks voters to authorize transferring $1,000,000 of the CVSD reserve account to the construction fund in order to tackle these urgent needs without incurring more debt.

To provide further opportunities to ask questions and provide feedback, the district is offering a series of budget information meetings across the CVSD. The list of meetings can be found on the district’s website and the public is welcome to attend any presentation, in any town, that are convenient. In addition, the website page www.cvsdvt.org/budget has many resources, including the Annual Report bit.ly/CVSDannualreport2019 and our FY 2019-2020 Proposed Budget Flyer http://bit.ly/CVSDbudgetflyerFY20, and our budget FAQ’s http://bit.ly/CVSDbudgetFY20FAQs. Hard copies of the annual report can be found at each school and town office or can be mailed by calling 985-1914. The CVSD Board Budget Meetings were recorded and can be viewed at www.RETN.com. Lastly, send email to CVSDBoard@cvsdvt.org with any questions.

All residents in Champlain Valley School District towns are encouraged to vote either on March 5 or earlier at your town offices.

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