Yes this time
Although we voted no on the Montpelier school budget March 4, we intend to vote in support of the revised budget April 15, for three reasons: 1) the school board made at least some reductions after the first budget was defeated, which is appreciated, 2) the Legislature, perhaps in reaction to the 35 school budgets defeated statewide, is considering cutting the projected state homestead tax rate for this year, which should further reduce the tax increase in Montpelier, and 3) we are encouraged that the school board is talking about appointing a committee to study financial efficiencies and new approaches to learning.
As longtime supporters of the Montpelier schools and their educators, it was not easy to vote no. But the projected tax rate increase of 13 percent, on top of last year’s tax rate increase of 9.4 percent and the likelihood of substantial increases over the next two years, was simply too much — even if the increase was due more to the state system than the local budget. The majority of voters apparently agreed that the proposed tax increase was part of an unsustainable trend.
Hopefully, the Legislature will take some long-term steps to bring down education costs and/or the school property tax burden. Likewise, we hope the school board is successful in its search for ways to keep future tax increases to reasonable levels so that we can avoid additional budget defeats. Meanwhile, we are voting for this revised school budget and urge others to do the same.
Fran and Phil Dodd
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