Taconic & Green School District budget passes by wide margin

By Bruce Frauman
©2018 Telegraph Publishing LLC

Voters of the nine towns encompassing the Taconic and Green Regional School District overwhelmingly approved the five articles presented by Australian ballot on March 6, 2018, including a $32 million budget for the next fiscal year.

T&G represents the Act 46 outcome of the nine towns and the five K-8 schools within them. This district is unusual in that there is no public high school within it.  The nine towns are Londonderry, Weston, Landgrove, Peru, Danby, Mt. Tabor, Sunderland, Manchester and Dorset. The schools are Flood Brook Elementary (K-8), Currier Memorial  (pre-K-6), Sunderland Elementary (K-6), Manchester Elementary Middle (pre-K-8) and the Dorset School (K-8). All 7th and 8th grade students will have an opportunity to choose a school not assigned to them within the district and all 9th through 12th grade students retain school choice.

The article gaining the most support approved, by 1,280 to 319, the Burr and Burton Academy tuition rate of $17,065 for resident pupils in grades 9 through 12 who attend any approved Vermont independent school. BBA is a private high school in Manchester that serves as the area’s primary secondary school.

At a public meeting on Feb. 27, BBA headmaster Mark Tashijan defended the 2.2 percent increase over last year, saying this was below the governor’s target of 2.5 percent and that the school is supported by private fundraising and a large endowment.

The other articles, with approval ranging from 76 percent to 79 percent of voters, authorized:

  • the T&G School Board to borrow money by issuing notes not in excess of anticipated revenue for the July through June fiscal year.  The vote was 79 percent for, or 1,232 yes to 332 no.
  • a budget of $32 million, which will result in education spending of $16,700 per student. The vote was 76 percent for, or 1,220 yes to 370 no.
  • the establishment of a Building and Grounds Reserve Fund. The vote was 77 percent for with 1,217 voting for and 357 against.
  • and the transfer to the Building and Grounds Reserve Fund of any cumulative surplus (estimated at $452,427)  from the districts merging into the T&G RSD on June 30, 2018. The vote was 76 percent for with 1,192 for and 364 against.

Heidi French was elected as a director from Sunderland with 1,137 votes. All 13 board members are elected at-large and represent the entire district. Nine of the positions must be filled by a resident from each town. The remaining four positions can be filled from the four largest towns of Londonderry, Danby, Dorset and Manchester, but there is no restriction on the number

The Vermont School Boards Association said that 96 percent of school budgets were approved by voters in 142 school districts. The association also estimated statewide education spending growth of 1.5 percent for fiscal year 2019.

The Taconic and Green RSD will formally take over control of all five schools on July 1, 2018, when each of the other five school boards will be dissolved. It will join a newly approved Mettowee School District covering the towns of Pawlet and Rupert and Winhall as a stand-alone district within the Bennington-Rutland Supervisory Union.


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