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Educators say small school subsidies have a place in Vermont

Posted on March 26, 2015 |
By Lee J. Kahrs



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ADDISON AND RUTLAND COUNTIES — As the Vermont Senate Education Committee continues its work on an education funding reform bill this week, small schools are once again under scrutiny as lawmakers consider the proposition that school and district consolidation equals cost savings.

Now, a new report names specific small schools in Addison and Rutland counties as examples of what’s wrong with Vermont’s school districting system.

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Shap Smith: Health care reforms a top priority

Posted on March 19, 2015 |
By John Flowers



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MIDDLEBURY — Education finance reform and the estimated $112 million revenue shortfall continue to get the most attention in Montpelier, but Vermont House Speaker Shap Smith said he and his colleagues are committed to passing health care reforms aimed at closing the cost-shift in Medicaid funding and recruiting more primary care physicians to the state.

Smith was speaking on health care issues at Porter Medical Center’s annual meeting on Monday at Middlebury College’s McCardell Bicentennial Hall.

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State budget deficit: How deep should cuts be?

Posted on March 19, 2015 |
By John Flowers



BRISTOL — Citizens who attended the weekly Legislative Breakfast on Monday heard from lawmakers about their struggle with the fiscal year 2016 general fund budget, which is facing a projected $112 million revenue shortfall.

Among the proposed cuts under consideration to shore up the budget are two of the Vermont Department of Public Safety’s four Public Service Answering Points (PSAPs) — better known as E-911 dispatching centers — in Derby and Rutland.

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Eric Davis: Dems' 2016 hopes ride on education bill

Posted on March 19, 2015 |
By Eric L. Davis



Several legislative committees have been working on bills to change Vermont’s system of K-12 education finance and governance. The package is likely to come up for a vote on the House floor soon. While the final shape of the legislation is yet to be determined, the political consequences of the issue have become clearer in recent weeks.

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State budget cuts continue to shape legislative session

Posted on March 12, 2015 |
By John Flowers



 

MIDDLEBURY — School financing and the state’s budget woes continued to dominate conversation at the Bridport Grange’s legislative breakfast series, the most recent edition of which was held on Monday at the Middlebury American Legion headquarters.

Lawmakers have been told there is a $118 million revenue shortfall for the state budget that is to take effect July 1. The Legislature’s money committees are considering cuts to the current budget draft, along with some possible fee and tax increases.

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Rep. Sharpe pushes change in education through H.361

Posted on March 9, 2015 |
By Zach Despart



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ADDISON COUNTY — Rep. David Sharpe doesn’t give off the aura of a salesman. His elbow-patched blazers may echo Willy Loman, but the soft-spoken, veteran legislator isn’t in the business of sweet-talking his way to a few bucks.

But however unnatural it may come to him, selling was exactly what Sharpe set out to do at town meetings in his district this week. It’s not goods the Bristol Democrat is hawking, but an education bill that would drastically change the organization of Vermont’s schools and alter how they are governed.

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Substantial state spending cuts loom

Posted on March 5, 2015 |
By John Flowers



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WHITING — Town officials hoping for some sort of financial life preserver this year from the state for ailing municipal and/or school programs had better learn how to tread water.

That’s because local lawmakers on Monday served notice they are trying to erase a $112 million shortfall in the fiscal year 2016 state budget. And unlike past years, there is no federal stimulus money, nor better-than-anticipated tax revenues to close the gap.

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Opinion: Vt. gun laws in need of updating

Posted on March 4, 2015 |
By Bobbi Loney



In January 1,400 letters and 12,000 petition signatures were hand delivered in Montpelier in support of a bill to be sponsored by, among others, our Sen. Claire Ayer. The bill, S.31, is about to be re-drafted to focus on two of the three provisions originally included.

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Opinion: Sheldon thanked for water bill vote

Posted on March 2, 2015 |
By Peter Diminico



I would like to thank Rep. Amy Sheldon for her vote and strong support for H.35. This water quality bill passed through the House Fish, Wildlife & Water Resources Committee with a resounding 7-2 vote, with Rep. Terenzin (Rutland) and Rep. Willhoit (St. Johnsbury) representing the opposing votes. This bill (pending,we have a long way to go) gives the Agency of Natural Resources and the Agency of Agriculture new powers with reasonable requirements to implement and enforce the clean water laws in the state of Vermont.

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