ANeSU, ANwSU school boards regroup after budgets go down

ADDISON COUNTY — Five school boards in northern Addison County will meet in the coming weeks to draft new budget proposals after voters said “no” to initial proposed spending plans on Town Meeting Day.
The Vergennes Union High School board will meet on Monday at 6 p.m. in the school library to consider its next move. Its $10.47 million budget proposal lost, 831-718, on Town Meeting Day, with close votes in all of the Addison Northwest Supervisory Union towns except Ferrisburgh, which voted against the proposal, 328-243.
That VUHS budget sought a spending hike of about $1 million despite cuts equal to 3.9 full-time teaching jobs. Board members said that increase was necessary to begin retiring a massive deficit due to past accounting failures and correct what current ANwSU administrators call inadequate past budgeting practices.
Historically, Ferrisburgh voters have supported school spending, but they also voted against, 302-267, a proposed $3.6 million Ferrisburgh Central School budget last week.
That spending plan called for a 2.97 percent increase despite cuts of two teaching positions, one through a retirement and another through a resignation.
Also defeated was a proposal by the FCS board to create a $16,000 fund to support technology purposes at the school, 286-284. Town voters did back, 339-230, as they have historically, an article that contributed $20,000 to the FCS Capital Improvement Fund.
The FCS board will meet at the school at 6:30 p.m. on this coming Thursday to plan its next steps.
The budget votes in Ferrisburgh followed a 24-cent increase in the town’s residential school-tax rate a year ago.
Three Addison Northeast Supervisory Union school boards have to draft new budgets after voters rejected the initial spending proposals for Mount Abraham Union High School, Monkton Central School and Bristol Elementary School.
Voters in Bristol said “no” to their elementary school budget proposal of $4.93 million, a 2.76 percent increase over last year, by a tally of 377-267. That budget would have cut a total of six staff positions from the school, which many parents objected to.
In Monkton, residents voted down a $2.82 million proposal that was 9.3 percent higher than last year, 223-126.
Mount Abraham voters, by a margin of 1,241-1,088, rejected a $14.06 million proposal that was about $30,000 less than the budget for the present fiscal year.
All three school boards have meetings scheduled for next week. The Bristol Elementary board will meet Monday at 5:30 p.m., the Mount Abraham board will meet on Tuesday at 6:30, and the Monkton Central School board will meet Thursday at 6:30 p.m. 
The boards will seek input from residents and, at these meetings or at future meetings in the next several weeks, must finalize new budget proposals for a second public vote. As a frame of reference, the re-votes on school budgets for Vergennes and Ferrisburgh last year took place in mid-May.

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