Shumlin asks school districts to hold down spending to hold down property taxes

first_imgSource: Shumlin’s office. 12.22.2010  AttachmentSize EDU-Estimated_Allocation_of_Federal_Education_Jobs_Fund.pdf508 KB Governor-elect Peter Shumlin today said that local school boards and communities are best left to make their own budget decisions and he will not ask the Legislature to enforce the voluntary education spending cuts recommended under Challenges for Change. At the same time, he said that local school districts will still receive $23.2 million less from the state this year. While much of that should be made up with the nearly $19 million in federal education stimulus money that the state received earlier this fall, the $19 million is a one-time allocation of funds and school districts should continue to develop fiscally sound budgets so as not to result in increased property taxes.He makes this announcement following last week’s report that school districts were unable to meet the $23.2 million voluntary reduction targets set earlier this year.‘We always knew that this would be a difficult year for school budgets,’ said Shumlin. ‘Our local boards and educational leaders have worked diligently to provide the quality education we expect from our schools and local voters expect. I trust our local school boards and voters to develop fiscally sound budgets that reflect the values we hold dear as Vermonters.’‘We are fortunate that Congress allocated $19 million dollars to our state to prevent layoffs,’ continued Shumlin. ‘I will encourage the Legislature to get this money in the hands of local school districts as soon as possible so they can develop their budgets in time for Town Meeting Day. The $19 million should serve as a bridge to a thoughtful and sustainable approach to reduced spending in order to avoid property tax increases.’Governor-elect Shumlin was joined by Education Commissioner Armando Vilaseca, Secretary of Administration Jeb Spaulding, Speaker of the House Shap Smith, President of the Vermont-National Education Association Martha Allen, Director of the Vermont Superintendents Association Jeff Francis, Director of the Vermont Principals Association Ken Page and Director of the Vermont School Boards Association John Nelson.‘I want to thank the leadership at the 14 supervisory unions who met or exceeded the targets set for them,’ said Commissioner Vilaseca. ‘I want to ensure that those who did reach deep down and made significant reductions are not penalized for doing so. Twenty-two additional Supervisory Unions partially met their targets and we appreciate their efforts as well. I will continue to recommend that in January the Governor and the Legislature release the $19 million Education Jobs Fund money to Vermont school districts as soon as possible in order to bridge some of the cuts from our local school budgets. Today my staff is releasing the anticipated amount allocated to each district. School districts will be able to decide locally if they prefer to use it during this current budget cycle, during the FY2013 budget cycle, or some combination thereof.’‘This approach does not require districts to meet the specific targets, but the $23.2 million dollar reduction will be booked in General Fund on a system wide basis,’ said Jeb Spaulding. ‘The way our education funding system works, if schools do not restrain spending they will see an impact in their tax rates.’last_img

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