Vote yes on Tuesday
As a Montpelier resident and parent of two children at Union Elementary School, I strongly encourage my fellow residents to support the school budget Tuesday.
While we have a very good school system here in Montpelier, anyone who has walked in our school hallways recently knows that our schools are not extravagant. The buildings are modest and clean but need maintenance; classrooms are cheery but not flashy; and technology is accessible but minimal by today’s standards. Our teachers, stretched thin through staff reductions in recent years, make reasonable salaries but are not highly paid given the important work they do. We could really use investments instead of cuts.
Instead, the school budget has been effectively reduced. While the budget edged up by 1.7 percent, roughly the rate of inflation over last year, many expenses — such as health care — greatly outpace inflation. The school board has already had to make significant cuts in order to keep the dollar amount at this level. Unfortunately, actions taken by the state have resulted in a large property tax increase — but no reasonable action at the school board level that can undo that, and we should encourage our state Legislature to make changes instead.
Voting down the school budget is not a solution to our tax problem; it would not significantly change our property taxes. But it would certainly cause deeper cuts to educational programs, and therefore reduce the quality of our schools, making Montpelier a less desirable place to live.
If Montpelier wants to remain a strong community, we must invest in our educational system and the children who will shape our future. Please support our school budget and vote yes Tuesday.
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