Posted in Budgets, Community, General

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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Posted in Accountability, Budgets, Community, General

Community Conversations Continue

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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.

 

 

 

Posted in Accountability, Budgets, Community, District Office, General, Other Important Information

Thank You

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Many thanks to the community members who voted yesterday. The budget passed with 1,519 voting yes and 1,444 voting no. (To view the results from the ballot in .pdf format as posted on the Town of Colchester’s website, please click here.)

To learn more about the budget, please visit our comprehensive information on our website (www.csdvt.org/budget). We also welcome our community to call our administrative offices at (802) 264-5999.

When we’re all informed, we make a stronger community! Please encourage your friends and family to subscribe to the Spotlight.

Posted in Accountability, Budgets, Colchester High School, Community, District Office, General, Other Important Information, Town of Colchester

School District Budget Vote is June 3—PLEASE VOTE!

The Colchester School District budget vote is Tuesday, June 3, 2014, from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.

Where are the polling stations?

District 9-1 (comprised of the area east of I-89, the west side of I-89 north of the Malletts Creek inlet, and excluding the south side of Blakely Road) is at the Colchester Meeting House on 830 Main Street in Colchester Village.

District 9-2 (comprised of the area west of I-89 south of the Malletts Creek inlet, including the south side of Blakely Road) is at Colchester High School on 131 Laker Lane (off Blakely Road).


Did you know that if your total household income is less than $90,000, the tax increase associated with this proposed school budget would be $2.38 or less? Please click here to learn more in this two-page informational flyer, which includes information about your schools as well as important tax-related information.


For questions about the budget or for any additional information, please call our administrative offices at (802) 264-5999 or visit www.csdvt.org/budget.

Please vote on June 3!

When we’re all informed, we make a stronger community! Please encourage your friends and family to subscribe to the Spotlight.

Posted in Accountability, Budgets, Colchester High School, Colchester Middle School, Community, General, Malletts Bay School, Other Important Information, Porters Point School, Union Memorial School

Are Colchester Schools Efficient?

The following letter was written by Colchester School Board member Craig Kieny:


In March 2013, I was elected to the Colchester School Board. My reason for seeking election was that I was as frustrated as everyone else with increases in property taxes, and I decided the best way to do anything about it was to run for election.

One of my main goals was to make sure the school district minimized its costs by operating efficiently. That will be one of my goals for as long as I am on the board.

To monitor the efficiency of the schools, I look at data provided by the Vermont Agency of Education regarding per-pupil spending, student/teacher ratios, New England Common Assessment Program (NECAP) scores, and others metrics. Here are highlights of what the most recent available data shows:

  • Of the 11 school districts that offer K-12 programs, 3 districts (27.2%) have lower per-pupil spending, when Special Education expenses are excluded.
  • Of the 28 senior high schools, 5 (17.8%) have a higher student/teacher ratio than Colchester High School.
  • Of the 25 similar-sized middle schools, 3 have a higher student/teacher ratio than Colchester Middle School.
  • Of the 25 similar-sized elementary schools, 0 have a higher student/teacher ratio than Malletts Bay School.
  • Of the 41 similar-sized elementary schools, 9 (20.2%) have a higher student/teacher ratio than Porters Point School and 11 (26.8%) have a higher ratio than Union Memorial School.
  • The student/administrator (principal, assistant principals) ratio for CHS and PPS are average for their respective school type and size.
  • The student/administrator ratios for CMS, MBS, and UMS are in the lower half for their respective school type and size. In the case of MBS and UMS, this is due to the size of the schools. For CMS, this is due to the need to address specific issues.
  • NECAP scores for eleventh graders are among the highest in the state for all subjects.

I don’t like paying a penny more than I have to for anything than I have to, and I bring this mentality to my work on the board. The above data suggest that the schools are operating relatively efficiently.

The data also suggest that it is expensive to operate schools in Vermont. After we have an approved budget, I hope to ensure the district continues to look for ways to operate efficiently and address statewide issues to further improve the cost efficiency of Colchester schools.

Please vote on June 3.

Craig Kieny
Colchester School Board member

Posted in Accountability, Budgets, Community, District Office, General, Other Important Information

School Budget Information!

The Colchester School District budget vote is June 3, 2014, from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.


Is your total household income less than $90,000? If so, the tax increase associated with this proposed school budget would be $2.38 or less; learn more in the flyer.


Please click here for a two-page informational flyer with information about the proposed budget, or please click the image below to access the complete document. It includes information about your schools as well as important tax-related information.

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For questions about the budget or for any additional information, please call our administrative offices at (802) 264-5999 or visit www.csdvt.org/budget.

Please vote on June 3!

What do I do if I can’t get to the polling station during those hours?

  • Absentee ballots are available by request; simply call the Town Clerk’s Office at (802) 264-5520 to request a ballot.
  • Voting can also be done at the Town Clerk’s Office from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on weekdays.

Where are the polling stations?

District 9-1 (comprised of the area east of I-89, the west side of I-89 north of the Malletts Creek inlet, and excluding the south side of Blakely Road) is at the Colchester Meeting House on 830 Main Street in Colchester Village.

District 9-2 (comprised of the area west of I-89 south of the Malletts Creek inlet, including the south side of Blakely Road) is at Colchester High School on 131 Laker Lane (off Blakely Road).

When we’re all informed, we make a stronger community! Please encourage your friends and family to subscribe to the Spotlight.

Posted in Accountability, Budgets, Community, District Office, General, Other Important Information, Vision Summit/Vision and Strategic Plan

Letter From the School Board

The Colchester School Board offers the following letter, written by Lindsey Cox, to the community:


In March, voters went to the polls and defeated a 4.29 percent school budget increase. The school board reduced the budget by $442,744 and put forth a 3.09 percent increase (that would increase property taxes by 3.692 percent). Last week, that budget proposal was defeated as well. Now, as we struggle to find more places to cut, I thought it would be helpful to point out some other numbers that matter.

Our budget represents the vision that our community and school created for our students. It is built around community engagement, innovative teaching and learning, and success for all students. Our vision states that our schools achieve success when they are in partnership with our community. But in our community of approximately 11,000 registered voters, barely 2,000 came out to vote. That number matters.

Many times we’re reminded that Colchester’s per-pupil spending ($12,043) is lower than the state average ($12,789); however, our achievement on standardized tests is higher (statewide: 53 percent proficient/Colchester: 72 percent proficient). Statewide, school enrollment is decreasing, but Colchester kindergarten enrollments are at a ten-year high. Our classroom student-to-teacher ratio pushes the top end of Vermont quality standards at around 22:1 in the lower grades and 24:1 in the upper grades. These numbers should matter as well.

Our educators are some of the best in the state and have been recognized regionally and nationally for facilitating excellent learning. But more importantly, our students are achieving success both while in our schools and once they graduate and reach for college and career goals. For our students and educators to continue this success, we, as a community, must provide them the tools they need.

It’s easy to say no to numbers when every dollar increase puts more stress on our households and families. But we must remember that supporting our public education system is an investment in the future of our community. We each have a part to play to ensure that Colchester remains a great place to live and learn.


When we’re all informed, we make a stronger community! Please encourage your friends and family to subscribe to the Spotlight.

Posted in Accountability, Budgets, Colchester High School, Community, District Office, General, Other Important Information

Important: Please Attend Special May 10 School Board Meeting to Discuss Budget Cuts

As a result of the Colchester School District FY 2015 revised budget defeat on May 6, the Colchester School Board will hold a special meeting on Saturday, May 10, at 8:00 a.m. in room 103 at Colchester High School to discuss further reductions.

The board urges the community to attend the meeting and offer recommendations in this undertaking.

To view the meeting agenda, please click here.

When we’re all informed, we make a stronger community! Please encourage your friends and family to subscribe to the Spotlight.

Posted in Accountability, Budgets, Community, District Office, General, Other Important Information, Town of Colchester

Please Vote Today!

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Today is the budget vote; the polls will be open from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Please come out and cast your ballot!

If you have questions about the school budget, please call Colchester School District’s administrative offices at (802) 264-5999. Information about CSD’s budget can also be found by clicking here.

If you have questions about the Town of Colchester’s budget, please call (802) 264-5500. Information about the Town’s budget can also be found by clicking here.

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When we’re all informed, we make a stronger community! Please encourage your friends and family to subscribe to the Spotlight.

Posted in Accountability, Budgets, Community, General, Other Important Information, Town of Colchester

Read All About It: Town Updates for Week Ending May 2, 2014

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  • Want a finance and budget update?
  • Need information about important homestead tax forms?
  • Interested in learning more about the upcoming Grand List?

As a sneak preview, information like this can be found within the update:

Tax increases resulting from the revised Town and school budgets to be voted on Tuesday May 6 for a $300,000 home may be as follows:

  • For total household income over $90,000, the combined Town/school tax increase would be 3.1 percent
  • For total household income over $45,000, combined Town/school tax increase would be 0.8 percent
  • For total household income over $65,000, combined Town/school tax increase would be 0.6 percent
  • For total household income over $85,000 combined Town/school tax increase would be 0.4 percent

PLEASE NOTE: Variables used to calculate the school tax rate have not yet been finalized and are subject to change. Such tax-related financial information is based upon decisions made in Montpelier. To date, these decisions have not yet been finalized in the legislature.


Please click here to find out more—access the Town of Colchester’s update for the week ending May 2, 2014.

When we’re all informed, we make a stronger community! Please encourage your friends and family to subscribe to the Spotlight.