Addison Central School board to consider additions to budgets

ADDISON — Administrators presented two possible 2016-2017 spending plans to the Addison Central School board on Thursday, one that made few changes to school’s program and would raise spending by almost 5 percent to roughly $1.62 million, and one that cut spending about $36,000 to about $1.5 million.
Principal Matt DeBlois and Addison Northwest Supervisory Union administrators crafted that $1.5 million budget to avoid the Act 46 per-pupil spending threshold after which residents must pay a dollar-for-dollar penalty on their tax bills. 
But ANwSU Superintendent JoAn Canning said the Addison Central board was concerned about the impact on students of the $120,000 difference between those two proposals, while school officials also project a $100,000 fund balance, some or all of which can be used to preserve some of the proposed cuts.
“The board anticipates a fund balance,” Canning said. “They also do not want to see reductions that affect students.”
The list of potential cuts from the $1.62 million budget (which would rise to that level simply because of contracted salary and benefit increases) includes:
• A math interventionist, a 60 percent position.
• $5,800 in technology.
• Reductions in the number of days worked by the principal, custodian and secretary.
• $4,000 in maintenance.
• Extracurricular programs and field trips.
• $5,000 for summer school.
Canning said the board asked her and DeBlois to return at its next meeting and present the best way to “use that $100,000 to bring back needed supports for our kids.”
The board next meets on Jan. 21 at 7 p.m., in a classroom next to the principal’s office. The budget must be adopted at that meeting to meet the deadline for warning a Town Meeting Day vote.
Canning is confident moving forward.
“I feel that Addison Central is in good shape with the cushion of that fund balance,” she said.
Like other ANwSU boards, the Addison Central board is also at least considering holding its budget vote later than Town Meeting Day (see story on Page 1).
Doing so would allow voters to cast ballots while knowing the fate of the union-wide vote on whether to unify ANwSU under one-board governance.
It is also possible the Legislature by then would have acted to delay or revise the Act 46 penalty for high per-pupil spending that is problematic for about half of Vermont’s schools. 

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