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District Announces Preliminary Budget

Positions will be added at high school, middle and elementary schools

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Board members discuss the FY18 budget during a finance committee meeting on Tuesday night.

Over two dozen residents packed into the Ira Allen Board Room at the Burlington School District central offices on Tuesday night for the school board finance committee meeting.

The agenda: presenting next year’s budget.

Superintendent Yaw Obeng and Business Manager Nathan Lavery began by explaining the expected revenue sources and expenditures for FY18.

The budget includes shifting revenue between funds, including driver’s education and ONTOP.

Obeng told the board and community members that he had difficulty receiving feedback on areas to make reductions. The only suggestion, he said, was central office expenditures.

The district-wide supply negotiations include expensive items such as photocopiers, which were normally purchased by principals, Obeng said. The superintendent explained that this could greatly offset operation costs.

Many teachers, particularly at the high school have raised concerns about the need for more multilingual liaisons. In response to those requests, the district plans to increase funding for this program.

Lavery said that the district and school websites will be updated to create improved accessibility of information and transparency. $30,000 will be allocated for the redesign.

Additional expenditure increases include $80,000 for a school bus replacement, $22,000 for an expanded time clock system, $15,000 for projection equipment and $100,000 for debt service on $4 million of new debt.

One major concern in the budget development process has been the lack of full time librarians at the high school, the Sustainability Academy and the Integrated Arts Academy.

The district was not clear on the increase in library funding. The position title had been changed to librarian interventionists in the budget, and Obeng said he would like for library media specialists to spend more time focused on individual student academic support.

The board then moved on to present position increases at every education level in the district.

The district was unable to provide tax estimates for the budget at the point in time.

The budget presentation was followed by the public comment period. Many community members expressed the need for the restoration of full-time librarians at every city school.

The need for social workers and increased class sizes were other concerns.

The public comment period was followed by a budget discussion amongst board members, which lasted for one hour.

Have an opinion on the budget? Send us a letter to the editor at: register@bsdvt.org