Don't know if all Board members got this so here it is...sorry if it is a
----- Original Message -----
From: "Edie Miller" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <Recipient list suppressed>
Sent: Tuesday, January 22, 2002 6:19 PM
Subject: Governor's Budget Proposal
> To: School Board Members
> From: Edie Miller
> Re: The Governor's Budget Proposal
> The Governor delivered his budget address to a joint session of the
> Assembly this afternoon. There has been no time to digest the numbers or
> think through all the ramifications at this time. But I do want to give
> you a quick update on what Governor Dean recommended.
> As expected he is recommending that the block grant be level funded at the
> current year's $5448 per equalized pupil. This requires a change in the
> current law.
> Each year there is a transfer from the General Fund to the Education Fund
> that by law is supposed to increase 3.5% annually. Based on that
> percentage, the projected FY03 amount for the General Fund transfer was
> $255M. In this budget, the Governor is recommending the transfer for FY03
> be $240.86M. This, too, requires a change in the law.
> The Governor also promised to propose modifications to income sensitivity
> under Act 60 that will save $4M. I do not know yet what form these
> modifications will take.
> Administration plans will draw down $12M from the capital construction
> reserve fund. $1M of that money is targeted for the North Country Career
> Center, and another $1M for the regional Technical Academy in Chittenden
> One part of Act 60 that everyone agrees has worked wonderfully well is the
> guarantee that all school districts have the same interest in having the
> system work as promised. Failing to fund the block grant as the law
> provides affects each and every school district. Unfortunately, these
> are, in fact, simply a cost shift from the state to local property
> School boards statewide are very much aware of the impact of the current
> weak economy on their constituents. The budget cycle has been more
> challenging than usual this year as districts have prioritized and
> developed a budget using a very sharp pencil - looking for every
> opportunity to limit cost increases.
> For school districts, the options for cutting budgets in the short term
> very limited. When a teacher resigns, there is generally no option to
> replacing that teacher if the education of that classroom of children is
> not to be disrupted. Most of a school district's expenses are the result
> of multiyear personnel contracts that cannot be changed mid-stream.
> Act 60 consists of a funding mechanism and a set of initiatives to improve
> school quality and make schools more accountable. Equitable, predictable
> and sustainable funding was the promise as schools throughout Vermont took
> on the challenge of the new school quality mandates. Elected officials
> educators are spending large sums of money, time and energy meeting the
> requirements that will help improve student learning. You need the
> promised funds to do so.
> Because the growth in statewide equalized education grand list (6.9%) has
> outstripped the original estimate, that grand list is raising more funds
> for the Education Fund than predicted and more than enough money to fully
> fund the per pupil block grant. These funds are generated at the local
> level and should be returned to local taxpayers through a fully funded
> block grant.
> I have not spoken to a legislator who has voiced support for level funding
> the block grant. It now remains to be seen how the General Assembly can
> find the money or cut other programs to carry out the current education
> funding law. This will not be easy.
> I will keep you informed as information becomes available.
> Edith A. Miller, Executive Director
> Vermont School Boards Association
> 2 Prospect Street, Suite #4
> Montpelier, Vermont 05602
> Telephone: 802 223-3580
> Fax: 802 223-0098
> email: [log in to unmask]
> Visit our Website at http://www.vtvsba.org/