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January 11th, 2010
ADDISON — About three dozen Addison residents gathered on Thursday to hear Addison Central School officials explain that even with about $180,000 of proposed cuts to the school’s current budget of about $1.9 million, their tax rates will rise if that plan — and the proposed Vergennes Union High School budget — passes on Town Meeting Day.
ACS Principal Wayne Howe said the issues Addison faces are the same most small, rural schools are struggling with: meeting educational mandates with limited resources while working against the economy of scale brought on by declining enrollment.
MIDDLEBURY — The UD-3 school board will hold a special budget meeting this Tuesday, Jan. 12, to discuss new education funding information from the state that indicates the seven towns in the Addison Central Supervisory Union could be in store for even worse budget news than they had anticipated.
MIDDLEBURY — Middlebury Selectman Don Keeler will not run for re-election this March, citing a desire to at least temporarily take a break from town government activities and give someone else a chance to serve the community.
“I thought long and hard about it,” Keeler said during an interview last week. “I just think that with the six years I’ve served, along with the six years I served during the late 1970s and early 1980s, I’ve done my part. It’s time for some new blood.”
BRISTOL — Bristol town planners late in December brought to a close the months-long process of drafting a new gravel, sand and earth extraction ordinance for the town, shuttling the proposed document to the selectboard and setting up a possible Town Meeting Day vote on the new rules.
At a Dec. 23 public hearing, the Bristol Planning Commission took one last round of comments from the public on the proposed ordinance, which if approved would replace Section 526 in the town’s zoning bylaws.
MIDDLEBURY — Middlebury College kicked off a month-long look at sustainable agriculture last Thursday with a panel addressing questions about agriculture and higher education.
The panel — made up of Melina Shannon-DiPietro from the Yale Sustainable Food Project, Ben Waterman from the University of Vermont, Philip Ackerman-Leist from Green Mountain College, and Gregory Peck from Cornell University — was the first in a series of public discussions slated to take place in January.
LEICESTER — Taxpayers in Leicester will be relieved to hear that town school directors are on track to propose a level-funded Leicester Central School spending plan for the 2010-2011 school year.
On Wednesday the board will meet to vote on the proposed budget. And although the past couple years have brought bad news for the school, with several failed efforts to consolidate with schools in neighboring towns and building maintenance woes, school board chair Hannah Sessions was optimistic last Friday.
PITTSFORD — Pittsford Assistant Fire Chief and local business owner Charles “Butch” Shaw has been appointed to the state House of Representatives by Gov. Jim Douglas. Shaw fills the seat vacated by longtime Rep. Peg Flory, a Republican who represented Pittsford/Sudbury.
“I look forward to working with Butch as we address difficult fiscal challenges and work to strengthen our economy,” Douglas said. “I am confident that he will represent the people of Pittsford and Sudbury thoughtfully and with dedication.”
MONTPELIER — Gov. James Douglas threw down the gauntlet in his final state-of-the-state address on Thursday, urging lawmakers to enact a series of initiatives he believes will advance economic development and reduce school spending.
Douglas, a Middlebury Republican, pulled no punches in an address that took just over 40 minutes to deliver and was interrupted 10 times by applause from a General Assembly heavily dominated by Democrats.