Important Town Meeting Information

Town Meeting is on March 2nd at 7:30 p.m. and early voting is now occurring at the Town Clerk’s office with March 3rd as the final day for voting at CHS from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. For more information on the budget, the articles to be voted upon, which include the local option tax and capital plan reauthorizations, please stop by the Town Clerk’s office or Burnham Library for a town report and information, visit http://www.colchestervt.gov or LCATV has videos for your viewing.

What do you get for your municipal property taxes? For just under $5.00 per day, the average Colchester household receives:

  • Round the clock police and dispatching services (Responded to 12,950 incidents last year)
  • Rescue services staffed by 4 full-time employees and over 40 volunteers
  • Volunteer Fire services
  • Public Works maintaining 109 miles of roads, bridges, buildings, vehicles, equipment and 2,500 storm water structures
  • Parks and Recreation services (all programs and some staff paid by user fees, not property taxes)
  • Burnham Library offering free educational programs and assistance for all ages
  • Planning and Zoning, Town Clerk and Assessor Services
  • Services such as county court system, Winooski Valley Park District, VNA, Regional Planning and Economic Development Assistance

Want to find out more about these services? You can view department-specific video presentations about the services provided by the Town of Colchester at: http://colchestervt.gov/dept_showcases.shtml

Colchester LogoTown of Colchester
781 Blakely Rd. | P.O. Box 55
Colchester, Vermont 05446

School District Budget Letter and Important Voting Information

On Tuesday March 3rd Colchester citizens will go to the polls exercising their civic duty to vote on Town and School budgets as well as other articles that determine how their government will be run. Timing is never good and this year especially, as many families will be out of town searching for warmer weather and who could blame them? To be away yet exercise your civic duty, the Town provides absentee ballots to make the process easy. Click on the  Town Clerk’s Office for voting information and locations.

In the Community Conversation meetings the School Board has listened to voters, shared information about the budget process and explained how education funding works in our state. The Board believes that the budget that they have crafted will meet the needs of students next year and is worthy of voter support at the polls. Click on the  School Board’s Open Letter  for their message. The Board understands the education funding model may change this year but no matter the outcome of those debates in Montpelier, their budget is designed to support student outcomes and success. For all the budget detail please click on CSD FY 2016 Budget Info.

School  And  Town Report Night

The District for the 8th year will be hosting the free community dinner prior to the report night. School and Town officials will be available for informal discussions and our legislators have been invited to attend as well. Get your questions answered while enjoying homemade lasagna (vegetarian and meat), salad and garlic bread.

When? March 2, 2015 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Where? Colchester High School’s Cafeteria (Laker Lane)
Cost? Free! Just bring your special dessert to share.

If you are a registered voter, you may also attend the annual Town and School reports meeting following the dinner at 7:30 p.m. in the auditorium at Colchester High School. There will be a short video presentation on Vermont Education Funding beginning at 7:00 p.m. in the CHS auditorium.

Important!

On Tuesday, March 3, both voting districts (9-1 and 9-2) will vote at Colchester High School. This change was made due to a lack of parking and accessibility for seniors and persons with disabilities at the Meeting House.

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February CSD Music Events & Accolades

First the Coming Events:

The Colchester High School Music Program is holding its annual Spaghetti Soiree—a night of dinner and music provided by CHS choral and instrumental groups—on Friday, February 13 in the CHS cafeteria. There will be seatings for the spaghetti dinner at 5 pm and at 7 pm. Tickets for either seating are available for $12 each (for those 13 and over) and $8 each for children age 3 to 12.

To pre-order tickets for the Spaghetti Soiree, please call Evan Peltier or Melissa Towle at 802/264-5742 or contact them via email at peltiere@csdvt.org or towlem@csdvt.org. Please specify which seating time you prefer. Due to the popularity of this event, pre-ordering of tickets is recommended. (Tickets can also be purchased at the door if there are remaining seats.)

Malletts Bay School will hold its first concerts of the school year in February. The MBS fifth grade band and chorus will perform on Wednesday, February 18 at 6:30 pm in the Colchester High School Theatre. MBS third and fourth graders will perform on Thursday, February 19 in the MBS Gym at 6 pm and 7 pm, respectively. The MBS band is under the direction of the district’s new music teacher Tyler Mast. (CHS Choral Director Melissa Towle directs the MBS chorus.)

And then the Accolades……….

Castleton_2015

Six Colchester High School band students performed in the Castleton College High School Honors Music Festival held on January 23 in the Casella Theater (Castleton). Participating CHS band students were: Katie Pierson (flute); Emily Carter (flute); Beth Moore (first chair, flute); Meghan Collins (first chair, saxophone); Chloe Bullock (clarinet); and, Haley Kieny (clarinet). Nearly 100 students from Vermont and New York high schools were selected to perform in the concert band.

District III 2015 CMSSeveral 7th and 8th grade Colchester Middle School students were selected to perform in the District III Music Festival concert held on January 31 at ADL Middle School. Back row, left to right: Graham Bertoni, Sam Burgess, Keegan Davis, Myla Jacobs, Kaitlyn Small, Hayley Church. Middle row: Mikey Collins, Paige Paradise, Nora Peterson, Nora Allen, Betty Faul-Welfare, Jenna Walker, Julia Dragon. Front row: Jessie Thompson, Abby Palaza, Petra Bajuk, Kayley Tullgren. District III Jazz 2015

 

Colchester Middle School musicians in the 7th and 8th grade were selected to perform in the first annual District III Jazz Festival concert held on November 14 at Browns River middle School. Left to right: Betty Faul-Welfare, Sam Burgess, Graham Bertoni, Mikey Collins, Nora Peterson, (front) Petra Bajuk.

Congratulations To All!

 

32nd Annual Colchester Winter Carnival! Update

Spotlight Viewers: Due to a technical error this Spotlight post yesterday contained an incorrect link to the Winter Carnival web page. Our apologies for this resend but this is a great town event and should not be missed! The link below is correct.

This weekend, February 6, 7, & 8 will be the 32nd Annual Colchester Winter Carnival! The whole event kicks off on Friday night with the annual Colchester’s Got Talent Community Talent Show, showcasing over 30 unique acts from some of Colchester’s most talented residents! The Talent Show starts at 6:00pm in the Colchester High School Theatre. Saturday will be a day full of fun at Colchester High School. Highlights include: an arcade game room, mechanical snowboard, caricatures, face painting, maple cotton candy, pony rides, a photo booth, a giant snow maze, and much more! The Blue Star Mothers of Vermont will also host a chili cook-off on Saturday, with all proceeds going to their charity. On Sunday, Leddy Park will have an open skate and St. Michael’s College will have an open swim at their pool, both for free with a Winter Carnival admission bracelet.

For a full schedule of events and performances for the weekend, please visit the Winter Carnival page on Colchester Parks & Recreation’s website, here: http://colchestervt.gov/Recreation/WinterCarnival.html

Admission bracelets can be purchased NOW at the following businesses: Biben’s ACE Hardware, Burnham Memorial Library, Colchester Parks & Recreation, and Mazza’s General Store. You can also purchase bracelets at the Winter Carnival Information Booth at the High School Entrance this weekend (see schedule for hours). Bracelets are $6.00 each (children 2 and under FREE).

You won’t want to miss it! We hope to see you there!

 

32nd Annual Colchester Winter Carnival!

This weekend, February 6, 7, & 8 will be the 32nd Annual Colchester Winter Carnival! The whole event kicks off on Friday night with the annual Colchester’s Got Talent Community Talent Show, showcasing over 30 unique acts from some of Colchester’s most talented residents! The Talent Show starts at 6:00pm in the Colchester High School Theatre. Saturday will be a day full of fun at Colchester High School. Highlights include: an arcade game room, mechanical snowboard, caricatures, face painting, maple cotton candy, pony rides, a photo booth, a giant snow maze, and much more! The Blue Star Mothers of Vermont will also host a chili cook-off on Saturday, with all proceeds going to their charity. On Sunday, Leddy Park will have an open skate and St. Michael’s College will have an open swim at their pool, both for free with a Winter Carnival admission bracelet.

For a full schedule of events and performances for the weekend, please visit the Winter Carnival page on Colchester Parks & Recreation’s website, here: http://colchestervt.gov/Recreation/WinterCarnival.html

Admission bracelets can be purchased NOW at the following businesses: Biben’s ACE Hardware, Burnham Memorial Library, Colchester Parks & Recreation, and Mazza’s General Store. You can also purchase bracelets at the Winter Carnival Information Booth at the High School Entrance this weekend (see schedule for hours). Bracelets are $6.00 each (children 2 and under FREE).

You won’t want to miss it! We hope to see you there!

 

A Gift That Will Keep On Giving

Colchester-Milton Rotary, Friends of Colchester Music purchase piano for CHS music program

It was a festive night at Colchester High School on December 17 for the band and choral program’s annual winter jubilee concert, but the mood became even brighter when members of the Colchester-Milton Rotary and Friends of Colchester Music (FCM) came to the stage to make a special announcement.

FCM, a volunteer booster group that supports music programs in the Colchester School District, joined forces with the Colchester-Milton Rotary to fulfill a donation request from CHS Choral Director Melissa Towle for a Yamaha Clavinova piano for the school’s music room. At the December concert, FCM President Marie Bouffard, Rotary’s Past President Leora Black, and Rotary’s Chair of Allocations Kent Booraem, presented Melissa Towle two checks for $2,000 each to allow her to purchase the piano.

new piano_CHS

Some of the CHS choral students and Choral Director Melissa Towle (sitting) stand around the school’s new Yamaha Clavinova Piano purchased from Contois School of Music through donations from Friends of Colchester Music and the Colchester-Milton Rotary.

 

“The Colchester-Milton Rotary Club has a history of supporting music in the community. In 2011, the Rotary donated $1,000 to the Friends of Colchester Music to support a program at Malletts Bay School. In the past year, the organization has also made donations to the Colchester Community Chorus and Band,” said Leora Black, past president of the Colchester-Milton Rotary. “We believe music makes a difference in the lives of students and community members.”

According to Mrs. Towle, the 20-plus year old piano is the “workhorse of the CHS music department.” It gets daily use by the school’s 110 choral students (CHS has the largest high school choral program in Chittenden County); and, it’s used by the band and drama programs. The piano has been rebuilt once and was in need of major repairs.

The $4,000 price tag for the new piano put a replacement instrument out of reach for Towle’s already stretched music budget, much of which goes toward the purchase of sheet music for the school’s annual choral performances.

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From left: Friends of Colchester Music President Marie Bouffard, Rotary Past President Leora Black, and Rotary Chair of Allocations Kent Booraem present checks to CHS Choral Director Melissa Towle for the purchase of a new Yamaha Clavinova piano for the CHS music program.

“We were thrilled that the Colchester-Milton Rotary was able to provide $2,000 to help purchase the piano,” said FCM President Marie Bouffard. “FCM is a small booster group, but we are fortunate to have great support from CSD families as well as the Colchester community…their support helped make our matching donation possible.”

“What a wonderful gift,” said Towle. “This piano means so much to the students and to our entire music program…We feel so very lucky to have such a supportive community.”

A brand new Yamaha Clavinova piano sells for nearly $6,000, but Towle received a quote on a floor model for $4,000 from Contois School of Music in Essex Junction.

Community Conversations Continue

CSD Logo

For the last two months the Colchester School District administration and School Board have been holding Community Conversation sessions at different venues around town. We have been pleased at the turnout averaging 15 to 16 folks at each meeting.  The School Board has also held a Saturday session at the Bayside Activity Center as well as a live broadcast last Thursday on LCATV viewable here. (A tip if you use IE as your browser…..be patient.)

What has been most satisfying for our team is to hear what people have to say, hear what they believe about the school system and what they believe are solutions to the State-wide Education Funding dilemma. For their part, the Board and Superintendent have presented facts and data to describe the responsibilities of Vermont School Districts, the human and structural resources required to meet those responsibilities and the costs associated with them. These two-way discussions have been invaluable to everyone in the rooms.

There is a need to continue these dialogues, not only in the run-up to the budget vote on March 3rd, but all year long. People need and value factual information to make balanced and thoughtful decisions about all manner of public policy and government operations. We agree. To that end we are establishing two new communications paths: a new email access at info@csdvt.org and a new Frequently Asked Questions database at www.csdvt.org/InfoFAQ. The two will be linked manually so that questions and answers will be publicly viewable by anyone.

The initial populating of the FAQ will be with questions fielded during the Community Conversation sessions. Questions submitted via email will be posted and responded to in the FAQ as well. We hope that community members will take this opportunity to participate and share their viewpoints and experiences as a part of our learning community.

 

 

 

Publicly Funded Pre-Kindergarten Begins In Colchester

preschool

The Colchester School Board has approved participation in Act 166, the Vermont State Pre-Kindergarten program for the 2015-2016 school year.

The Colchester School District offers publicly funded Pre-Kindergarten for children between the ages of 3 and 5 who reside in the Town of Colchester, Vermont. Your child must be at least 3 years old by September 1, 2015 to qualify for the 2015-2016 school year.

The families of children enrolled in a child care center with a 4 or 5 STARS rating are eligible for $3,000 of compensation, designed to offset the cost of 10 program hours per week for 35 weeks a year. To access funding for the upcoming school year, please complete our Colchester Early Education Program Enrollment Packet and return it to the Colchester School District, PO Box 27, Colchester, VT 05446. Forms are also accepted by email to PreK@csdvt.org.

UMS Students Break The 50 Mile Barrier!

Two Union Memorial School students have taken their commitment to wellness to a new level by reaching their personal goals of walking a total of 50 miles this school year. Ian Wirtz and Carter Faas have walked the one quarter mile course around UMS 200 times according to principal Chris Antonicci. Mr. Antonicci wanted to honor the boys for sticking to their goals, following through and being successful, so he arranged a presentation in front of the entire student body on January 19th.

50 Mile PresentationCarter and Ian were honored by all the students and faculty of UMS and were interviewed by a reporter and featured on the Fox 44 evening news. Carter and Ian are pictured with Michelle Ziter and Mr. Antonicci.

Community Communications Session 5 via LCATV and Web

The Colchester School District will be holding the fifth in a series of Community Communications events on January 22nd, 2015 at the Lake Champlain Access Television (LCATV) studios at 63 Creek Farm Plaza Suite 3.

This session will run from 7:00 to 8:00 pm and cover a broad set of topics concerning CSD specific expenditures, areas of cost savings, enrollment and revenue projections and the resulting tax impacts for property owners and those on fixed incomes. The session is intended to provide information additional to the first four sessions, but with a focus on fielding questions from the viewing audience.

What will make this session unique is the fact that the program will run live on Comcast system channel 16 and will simultaneously be webcast available at http://lcatv.org/live-video. While there will be limited room at the studio for a live audience, it is hoped that questions can be submitted via email during the broadcast to info@csdvt.org and the panel will respond accordingly.

Panel members will be Superintendent Larry Waters, Board Members Mike Rogers and Lincoln White with Dick Pecor serving as moderator.

 

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