Q: How will my local school budget be voted on now that we are consolidated?
A: The funding for all schools is now combined on a single ballot question, which residents will vote on by Australian ballot at their local polling places. On Tuesday, March 6, voters will be asked to approve one budget for all public schooling in the Champlain Valley School District (CVSD): Charlotte, St. George, Williston, Shelburne and Hinesburg. Voted ballots will be brought to a central location and co-mingled (all town ballots mixed together) prior to being counted.
Q: What are the CVSD Board’s budget goals?
A: The board identified two fiscal goals. The first goal was to meet the governor’s challenge and limit budget growth to 2.5 percent. The second goal was to meet our own fiscal objective of limiting a budget increase to 2.3 percent. In addition, we also set objectives for a coordinated system to ensure equity of resources across schools, provide for innovative learning and support academic success for all students. Community input aligns with our objectives to maintain essential programming, follow state guidelines for class sizes, maintain local school cultures, and identifies efficiencies due to consolidation.
Q: How much is the proposed budget increasing by and why?
A: The proposed budget is increasing by 2.3 percent this year. A portion of that (1.1 percent of the 2.3 percent) is for debt service of construction projects. All other spending covers increases of goods and services, such as energy costs and contractually obligated salary increases. These increases are partially offset by reductions in the cost of health care premiums, supplies, legal and auditing costs and insurance.
Q: Has consolidation saved the district money?
A: In our second year as a merged system we estimate savings of $187,000 due to consolidation, for a total of $220,000 over the first two years. These early savings are mostly administrative, with larger savings projected as we begin to implement other systems changes.
Renovation and maintenance
Q: How will bond votes for construction and renovation be done now that we are consolidated?
A: All bonds will be voted on by residents of all towns in the Champlain Valley School District, with costs shared by residents of the entire district.
Q: How will renovation projects be approached now that we are one district?
A: We are still working on developing systems. However, we anticipate developing a long-term capital plan with priorities independent of location.
Q: How are the facilities being managed now that we are one district?
A: The management of our physical plant is an area where consolidation is having a significant impact. This fall we reorganized the operations and maintenance management team, reducing administration and bringing in needed technical staff. Our licensed professionals can now be shared across campuses and used where their skills are most needed.
Q: How are you planning to meet the deferred maintenance needs of all six buildings?
A: We are creating a long-term maintenance plan that will help us meet, in an organized, sustainable way, both immediate needs and the needs we can predict. The CVSD board is committed to maintaining our buildings efficiently and effectively in order to prevent costly repairs.
Q: Are there upcoming budget related meetings where I can learn more?
A: Yes. All meetings are open to the public and most are recorded on the Regional Education Television Network website.
Quick overview of budget: Thursday, Feb. 8, 8:15 a.m. at Williston Central School dining room Sponsored by Williston Families as Partners (FAP)
Learn more Thursday Feb. 15th (Note date change from the 8th at 11:00 a.m., Charlotte Senior Center. Find us online.