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Career Center budget reduces spending

MIDDLEBURY — Voters in 17 Addison County towns on March 2 will weigh in on a 2021-2022 spending plan of $3,829,301 for the Patricia Hannaford Career Center (PHCC). The proposal represents a 0.92% decrease ($35,450) from the current year’s budget.
Career Center Superintendent Dana Peterson said $1,886,142 of the budget proposal would need to be raised by taxes assessed to folks in the Addison Central, Addison Northwest and Mount Abraham Unified school districts. This would translate into a fiscal year 2022 tuition rate of $23,827 per full-time-equivalent student, representing a $1,684 decrease compared to this year.
PHCC in Middlebury delivers vocational-technical education to high school students at its Charles Avenue headquarters and its North Campus, which is in the town’s industrial park. The center serves more than 320 enrollees who together translate into an enrollment of 126 full-time-equivalent students, according to Peterson.
The COVID pandemic has probably cost the center an additional 14 FTE students this year, Peterson calculated.
Career center leaders have proposed to apply $28,500 of a $100,000 FY2020 fund balance to offset some of the tax impact of the new $3.8 million budget proposal. Plans call for $27,500 of that fund balance to be applied to a future budget; $24,000 to be allocated to the center’s building, equipment and reserve fund; and $20,000 for the center’s health reserve account.
The FY2022 PHCC budget includes a net increase of $55,000 for costs due to employee health benefits and expansion of the popular Construction Technology program to include a second section.
“This budget reflects a very good value for the money,” Peterson said. “It allows us to provide for the greatest number of opportunities for students in areas of interest for them, and it also helps us address areas of need in various market segments for businesses and industries. It also provides the taxpayers a very affordable investment for future economic development as well as training for young people to either enter the workforce directly, or continue their education.”
In other recent PHCC news:
•  The group of students has landed a contract to build a “tiny house” for a New York company. The home — which when completed will be 8-feet-by-28-feet — will be occupied by a buyer in Ludlow, according to Peterson. The home will be built on a trailer to make it easier to haul away once it’s done. In addition to giving students hands-on building experience, the job could net the PHCC funds for similar projects in the future, Peterson said.
•  The center is in talks with Vergennes-based Collins Aerospace to model programming that would help future PHCC graduates become better matches for Collins jobs.
Reporter John Flowers is at johnf@addisonindependent.com.

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