Brandon area to field level school spending

BRANDON — The school board for the Rutland Northeast Supervisory Union looks to keep a lid on spending in its upcoming budget. At their Nov. 29 meeting board members approved a 2019-2020 school year draft budget that would raise spending by half a percent.

The proposed $9.3 million spending plan is $50,588 more than the previous year, as very few staffing or equipment changes were needed from last year. About $7.5 million, or 81 percent, of that spending goes to staffing and benefits.

The district also plans to replace three buses, but that will be a budget neutral replacement as three buses are coming off lease and this will continue in a 10-year replacement cycle for all district buses.

The board also approved a move by the administration to have the technology coordinator position upgraded to a director of technology position.

The tax consequences won’t be fully known until the Legislature approves state aid next spring, but the board passed the budget unanimously on the first vote. Residents in the Brandon-area district will get to vote on the spending plan at town meetings in March.

The next RNESU board meeting will be held on Wednesday, Jan. 23, at 6 p.m.

ACTIVE SHOOTER TRAINING

Superintendent Jeanne Collins, at the Nov. 29 meeting, discussed a recent training class at Otter Creek Learning Academy (formerly Leicester Central School) conducted during teacher in-service that focused on what actions to take during an active shooter event. The training, known as ALICE (Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evaluate) provides educators with tools to use in the event of a shooter on school grounds. The entire district had previously participated in this training, but Leicester school has new faculty and staff that also wanted to go through the training.

The training teaches them to be Alert and recognize the signs of danger; Lockdown classrooms if evacuation is not an option; Inform others of where the danger is; Counter the shooter by creating noise and movement to prevent the shooter from accurately targeting another person; and Evacuating to a safe area when it is safe to do so. ALICE trainers teach methods of evacuating from higher floors, through windows, and under duress.

Collins says that the training and drills are part of the district’s regular system of ensuring faculty are ready to respond to incidents that may occur in schools and says the district has been using the ALICE method for nearly two years. Before the adoption of ALICE, the previous approach had been to lockdown and shelter in place.

“Sandy Hook changed that,” Collins said. “With this, maybe those first-graders could have been saved. Unfortunately, we learn new information every time there’s a school shooting.”

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