ANWSD to hold Monday budget forum

VERGENNES — Addison Northwest School District board members and administrators will discuss their roughly $21.1 million unified budget proposal for the 2017-2018 academic year at the board’s annual meeting next Monday, Feb. 27, at 6 p.m. in the Vergennes Union High School library.
On Town Meeting Day voters in Addison, Ferrisburgh, Panton, Vergennes and Waltham will vote for the first time on a unified ANSWD budget to cover operations for all four ANWSD schools and their central office, and the district’s share of Hannaford Career Center costs.
That roughly $21.1 million budget, if approved on March 7 Australian balloting, would increase spending over the current year’s level by 1.68 percent, and it is slightly less than 2015-2016 district spending of $21,159,752.
Board members and administrators have said the budget would maintain existing academic programs and faculty positions, although some staff changes are planned: The Vergennes Union High School athletic director’s job description would expand to include coordinating sports at the ANWSD elementary schools, and a new district-wide building and grounds supervisory position is being created while the job of VUHS maintenance head is being cut.
According to ANWSD estimates, adoption of the budget will mean school tax cuts for homeowners in four of those five communities — although officials acknowledge the Legislature can still tweak numbers late in the session.
Those estimates take into account the 10-cent discount ANWSD will receive because residents approved unification in March 2016, assume lawmakers accept statewide tax rates recommended by the Vermont Department of Taxes, and adjust for each town’s Common Level of Appraisal (CLA).
Given those factors, ANWSD officials estimated a 0.3-cent decrease in the residential school tax rate in Panton; decreases including 11.5 cents in Waltham, 14 cents in Addison, and 14.7 cents in Ferrisburgh; and a 1.3-cent increase in Vergennes. 
Andy Kirkaldy may be reached at [email protected].

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