On Tuesday, March 5, Cabot will be voting on both a pre-K-12 school budget, and whether to close the high school. This budget is only for full pre-K-12 … if the high school closes, the budget is null and void, and we will need to hold a revote.
If we vote “no” on closing the high school, and “yes” on the school budget, Cabot residents get a 2.4 percent reduction of residential tax rate, facility improvement ($100,000) and a solid pre-K-12 program. This is a pretty amazing deal … lower tax bill, a fully funded school and facility work.
If we vote “yes” on closing high school, the school budget will be null and void. The School Board will need to make a new pre-K-8 and high school tuition budget, which will be voted on the following month. If the school board chooses to fully fund the pre-K-8 grades, the residential tax rate increases 25 percent to cover the estimated $724,000 to send our high school students elsewhere. Cuts to this budget will come from the pre-K-8 program.
As a town, we need to decide: Keep our tax rate low, maintain a strong pre-K-8 program, maintain local control of costs, improve school facilities and operate a high school; or raise taxes, cut down the pre-K-8 program, relinquish control of high school costs and defer facility work in order to send high school students elsewhere?
As for the quality of the school, Cabot High School serves my children well. They have great teachers and options for standard, project-based and online classes. Their friends who graduated recently are doing great in the wider world, at Yale, Amherst, UVM and other colleges.
I encourage all Cabot residents to attend the school meeting on Monday, March 4, 6:30 p.m. at the school gym, and vote on Tuesday, March 5.
Susan Socks lives in Cabot.