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On 6/29/07, Geoff Devine <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>
> Vermont now has a professional politician class.  They've even taken
> most of the power away from town meeting with the state school tax.
> Towns no longer have any control over the school budget... 80% of the
> budget in most towns.

Sigh.  It's summer.  We have this discussion every year, though I
never really participate.  Maybe I can put an end to it by spouting
fact rather than opinion.  You guys need to stop forming opinions
based on what politicians and lousy newspapers say, and do the 3
minutes of research that it takes to form your opinions based on fact.

Geoff,
This is not an attack on you. I don't know if you're purposely
distorting facts or if you are simply misinformed, but I have to point
out the distortions in the above statement.

1.  "Towns no longer have any control over the school budget"

We continue to vote at town meeting every year. There always a slew of
budgets that are rejected every year by the voters.  Pick up today's
free press and you will see that Fairfield's budget is being voted on
today for the third time.  This time it's had 33K slashed from the
previous proposal.  33K is enough to pay a teacher or buy a computer
lab.  That seems like like the town has a lot of control to
me.(Fairfield's website is under construction, so I can't say exactly
what the effect of the cut will b.)

The state block grant  gives $7,736 per student.  Dummerston is
spending over $13.5K per pupil. Granby is spending less than $8.5K per
pupil.  Have these towns not made choices in how much to spend above
the grant given by the state?
Source:
http://education.vermont.gov/new/pdfdoc/data/per_pupil/per_pupil_07.pdf

2. 80% of the budget in most towns.

In order for the $7736 block grant to be >80% of the per pupil
spending, the town would have to spend less than $9670 per student.
While performing a quick count in the  source I cited above, I only
find about 20% of the schools to have a budget that meets your claims.
 Spending at the 50th percentile appears to be at about 10.6K, making
the block grant less than 72% of most schools budgets.  That means
that most schools are getting a large part of their budget from local
taxes.

Crying baby means I have to go, but I may post a breakdown of these
expenditures later, and show how the true solution is easily found in
the numbers.  Unfortunately, politics means it will probably never
happen.

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