Small group passes $6.1M ID-4 budget

MIDDLEBURY — On Wednesday, April 11, around 30 people voted unanimously in favor of a 2012-2013 spending plan of $6,144,811 for Mary Hogan Elementary School.
Bonnie Bourne, co-principal of the Middlebury school, said folks present at the ID-4 school district annual meeting asked a few clarifying questions about the budget before endorsing it by voice vote.
She acknowledged it would have been nice to see a greater turnout at the gathering, which has historically drawn a small fraction of Middlebury’s 4,619 registered voters. Still, Bourne said she and her fellow co-principal, Tom Buzzell, fielded budget questions from several parents during the days preceding the vote. And she believes many voters took time to educate themselves about the spending plan and ultimately became satisfied with its scope.
“I think it’s a statement of confidence in the school,” she said of the lack of opposition.
“We understand the hopes (Middlebury residents) have for the youngsters in the education program.”
The budget represents a 4.15-percent spending increase compared to the current spending plan, but it is projected to result in a 0.86-percent decrease in the current homestead residential education property tax rate of $1.6844 per $100 in property value. That’s due to an anticipated increase in the school’s equalized per-pupil count and a bump in Middlebury’s Common Level of Appraisal (CLA) — both factors that influence Vermont’s education property tax rates.
The budget reflects a reduction in five instructional assistants and a 60-percent full-time-equivalent special educator.
Reasons for the 4.14-percent increase include anticipated rises in fuel and utility costs, a boost of $20,000 for computers and other technology-related equipment in the school’s media center, a correction (increase) in ID-4’s share of the Addison Central Supervisory Union’s school bus contract, and news that more teachers have chosen to take advantage of the district’s early retirement program, which offers financial incentives for teachers considering retirement.
Mary Hogan teacher salaries collectively are pegged to rise by around $43,000, per terms of an already negotiated labor contract.
There are currently 393 students enrolled at Mary Hogan Elementary. Officials anticipate the school will serve around 400 students during the next few years.
Bourne was ecstatic with the results of Wednesday’s vote.
“Middlebury does an exceptional job connecting high expectations with the resources necessary to meet those expectations,” Bourne said.
Reporter John Flowers is at [email protected]

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