Support school budget
I supported the Montpelier public school budget as presented. I appreciate all the hard work performed by the school board, administrators, and of course the teachers and staff on behalf of our community and our children.
That said, I hoped the school board would refrain from making significant cuts to the school budget based on the recent vote on Town Meeting Day. The margin was so close that it clearly shows the community is closely divided and there are almost as many supporters of the original budget as opponents. There is no mandate to support drastic cuts. In fact, the school board has been actively cutting away, when prudent, for years. Voters should also know that over the last eight years the school district has actually cut 17 percent of its staffing, while facing only an 8.6 percent reduction in enrollment. This is not a spend-happy gang.
Some people appear to be misrepresenting the modest and reasonable budget increase (2.27 percent) by equating it with a 13 percent increase in property taxes. The bulk of that is attributable to the education funding formula and not in the direct control of local voters. Equating the two is a disservice to voters who may be confused between the two. Those who wish to protest the education funding formula should do so by contacting their legislators, not by voting down responsible school budgets. The budget as proposed was actually the smallest increase in the last few years.
My wife and I, and our two young children, moved to Montpelier last year for many reasons — but a big one was in order to live in this school district, which is known for its excellence and for supporting its public schools. We are happy to pay our fair share to contribute to a “vibrant Montpelier” — we reject austerity as a means of achieving that community goal.
We will certainly support and vote for the next school budget.
Christopher J. Curtis
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