ANWSD offers half-dozen ballots

VERGENNES — When residents of the five Addison Northwest School District (ANWSD) communities go to their polling stations this coming Tuesday, they will be handed not just one ballot asking if they approve of a proposed $22,139,341 budget, but a sheaf of six papers.
The first asks voters to allocate $50,000 from a projected surplus from the past fiscal year to the ANWSD capital improvement fund. (Tax estimates released by ANWSD assume passage of this article; click here to read more.)
The next three articles deal with the kind of routine business the former Addison Northwest Supervisory Union Board and residents who attended annual supervisory union meetings handled with floor votes.
The trio of articles seek to allow the ANWSD board to borrow money in advance of property-tax receipts and state funding, an essential measure for operation of all school districts; to make the district’s annual report available electronically instead of sent out as printed copies; and to approve board members’ pay.
The sixth article will ask voters if they would like fewer Town Meeting Day ballots in the future — specifically, one for the budget and potentially others for contributions to the capital improvement fund or bond votes.
If approved, it would amend the ANWSD unification agreement to allow for the previous three questions to be voted, in ANWSD Board Chairwoman Sue Rakowski’s words in an email, “from the floor at annual meeting as they traditionally had been.”
Currently the ANWSD articles of unification are awkwardly worded when it comes to those routine decisions, as properly pointed out in a spring 2018 citizen petition that led to a revote on these questions.
“Voters may remember the district holding a special vote late last spring, to affirm decisions that were made at the annual meeting last year,” Rakowski wrote in an email. “That vote was held because it was brought to our attention that our articles of unification require ALL district decisions to be made through Australian ballot. In fact, as our unification agreement is written, only election of moderator, clerk, and treasurer may be done from the floor at the annual meeting.”
Rakowski said any capital improvement requests would continue to be separately warned articles subject to Town Meeting Day Australian balloting.
She added no changes in pay for board members are contemplated in that article.
“The amounts presented for vote this year are status quo; this is what is being paid currently,” Rakowski wrote.

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