Many thanks to the 16 citizens that joined 3 members of the Colchester School Board and Superintendent Waters last Saturday at the Bayside Activity Center for “Coffee and Conversation”. There were very thoughtful and enlightening discussions of education taxation, spending spurred by mandates from the State or Federal Government, and how we might maintain the quality of education in a reduced revenue environment statewide.
Larry Waters circulated a State DOE report around the room that points out where the Colchester School District stands relative to the rest of the districts in the State in terms of core Student – Teacher ratios. The report is available on the State DOE web site here. It may interest readers of the Spotlight that Colchester has the highest core Student – Teacher ratios not only in Chittenden County at 12.85 to 1, but higher than any other multi-school district in the State.
FY2016 proposed budget information was shared. This budget adds no new programs or personnel and in many ways is subject to the funding and taxation decisions that will be debated and decided upon by this session of the Vermont Legislature. It was pointed out that as is common annually, citizens will not know clearly the tax impact of district budgets until well after they are voted on in March, since the legislature typically does not come to agreement until late in the session in April. Mr. Waters will be creating a videocast detailing budget specifics and legislative impacts this week.
Lastly there was a video presentation created by the district in an attempt to explain how education funding is performed currently in the State of Vermont. The video is accessible on the CSD web site here. A discussion followed on the nature of how local budgets have statewide effect and that both expenses incurred and revenues raised for the operation of schools are centralized functions often out of our hands directly.
Thanks again to citizens that have attended the District Open House and Coffee sessions to become more informed about our District and to share their views and concerns with us.