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State budget deficit: How deep should cuts be?

Posted on March 19, 2015 |
By John Flowers



BRISTOL — Citizens who attended the weekly Legislative Breakfast on Monday heard from lawmakers about their struggle with the fiscal year 2016 general fund budget, which is facing a projected $112 million revenue shortfall.

Among the proposed cuts under consideration to shore up the budget are two of the Vermont Department of Public Safety’s four Public Service Answering Points (PSAPs) — better known as E-911 dispatching centers — in Derby and Rutland.

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Substantial state spending cuts loom

Posted on March 5, 2015 |
By John Flowers



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WHITING — Town officials hoping for some sort of financial life preserver this year from the state for ailing municipal and/or school programs had better learn how to tread water.

That’s because local lawmakers on Monday served notice they are trying to erase a $112 million shortfall in the fiscal year 2016 state budget. And unlike past years, there is no federal stimulus money, nor better-than-anticipated tax revenues to close the gap.

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Opinion: Local control key in education spending

Posted on March 4, 2015 |
By Matthew Witten



Town Meeting on Saturday in Starksboro featured a lengthy discussion with key players in the state’s, the county’s and the town’s education deciders.

Joining our debate, in addition to our local school board, were Superintendent David Adams and Rep. Dave Sharpe, chair of the Vermont House Education Committee.

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Bristol Elementary parents seek transparency on budget process

Posted on February 5, 2015 |
By Zach Despart



BRISTOL — A group of Bristol Elementary School parents have expressed concern about local control of how their education tax dollars are spent, and are urging the Addison Northeast Supervisory Union to be more transparent.

“It seems that currently the budget is developed with a small handful of people with little opportunity for the public to weigh in,” said parent Kristin Siringo. “It’s not entirely clear how much the board is even involved in the process.”

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Ferrisburgh eyes jump in municipal spending

Posted on February 5, 2015 |
By Andy Kirkaldy



FERRISBURGH — Ferrisburgh residents in March will be asked to approve a 2015-2016 town budget that calls for the first recent significant spending increase, a 5.6 percent hike to about $1.77 million.

Line items pushing spending higher include increased hours for town office workers, an additional road crew employee, a deficit from the current year that must be retired, and projected higher insurance and road resurfacing costs.

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Editorial: Gov. Shumlin's budget sets bold challenges

Posted on January 19, 2015 |
By Angelo S. Lynn



Gov. Peter Shumlin had little choice in his third-term budget address last Thursday but to propose significant cuts in spending and propose some increases in the state’s revenue stream. The state is facing a $94 million shortfall in fiscal year 2016, and he did what no politician likes to do: propose cuts in spending and tax increases.

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Neshobe school board seeking input from community

Posted on January 12, 2015 |
By Lee J. Kahrs



BRANDON — In what is sure to be an in-depth conversation about priorities, the Neshobe Elementary School Board has planned a community forum to discuss some key budget issues as Town Meeting Day draws near.

Residents are invited to a forum at the Brandon school’s library on Tuesday, Jan. 13, beginning at 5 p.m. It will be followed by the regular board meeting at 6 p.m., when board members will vote on a 2015-2016 spending plan that will go before voters on Town Meeting Day.

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Guest editorial: Vt. needs to fix school funding; start by changing governance

Posted on January 5, 2015 |
By Emerson Lynn



Speaker of the House Shap Smith has spent the past couple of weeks asking Vermonters for their ideas on how the state can reduce property taxes and still maintain a high quality educational system.

He should be careful for what he asks.

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Editorial: Vermont bucks 'popular' politics to invest in its kids

Posted on December 15, 2014 |
By Angelo S. Lynn



It’s popular today to be critical of politicians in Washington, D.C., and in Montpelier. It’s popular to be against government spending and for tax cuts. It’s also popular to be against spending more on education — both at the state level and federal.

But what’s popular is not always smart.

What’s smart is to raise and spend money in ways that make our society stronger, enrich the individual and reduce the need for spending more on the back end.

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Opinion: Per-pupil cost info would help

Posted on December 10, 2014 |
By Ken Wilkins



The Dec. 4 editorial outlines the burden of tax for Vermont payers. Understanding of the reason for high tax rates per pupil is different. However, I do understand relative comparisons of expense.

If the school department would publish a comparison chart of cost per pupil in the other New England states, we would have a better understanding that you are doing a good job.

Ken Wilkins

Middlebury

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