Burlington School Board OKs $74 million budget, $209 hike in taxes

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Burlington School Board OKs $74 million budget, $209 hike in taxes

Wed, 01/11/2017 - 2:32pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine Last night, the Burlington Board of School Commissioners approved a $73.76 million FY18 General Fund Budget and bond authority for inclusion on the Town Meeting Day Ballot in March. The 5.6 percent budget increase will raise average property taxes $209 a year (5.25 percent, which reflects changes in property assessments).

The bonding, which is included in the average $209.63 increase, would be for up to $4 million of capital investments in FY18, if voters approve the separate bond question.

Salary increases represented $750,000 of the $3.89 million increase over FY17.

Superintendent Yaw Obeng

Superintendent Yaw Obeng said in a statement Wednesday, "Our Board based this decision on their commitment to supporting Burlington students and school facilities, balanced with the ability of Burlington taxpayers to provide the resources for these efforts. In addition, the Board is confident in the District's strong financial progress and the shift towards consistent budget oversight."

Based on the average home value in Burlington, this budget translates to approximately "an additional monthly $17 investment in City schools," a District press release stated. Based on the average home value in Burlington, the bond proposal - which passed unanimously - will result in an additional 27 cents per month in the first year (this amount is included in the $17 budget impact). The bond will support deferred building maintenance and accessibility upgrades across the District. 

The proposed budget also includes establishing a budgetary contingency of $335,000, which will allow the District to respond to unanticipated needs without creating a budget deficit. Unspent funds will reduce budget pressure in subsequent years. The contingency originally was proposed at $700,000.

It also includes $300,000 for preschool expansion, which was enacted in response to Act 166.

The debt service amount ($100,000) presumes voter approval for an additional $19 million of borrowing over 10 years to address deferred maintenance needs. In FY18, only an additional $2 million is anticipated (on top of $2 million already authorized by charter).

Among the line items is one for $80,000 for a school bus and $30,000 to update the district's Web site.

The total school budget of $85.5 million includes grants of nearly $12 million.

Ballot Question
Shall the voters of the school district approve the school board to expend $85,544,586, which is the amount the school board has determined to be
necessary for the ensuing fiscal year? It is estimated that this proposed budget, if approved, will result in education spending of $15,066.96 per equalized pupil. This projected spending per equalized pupil is 6.61% higher than spending for the current year. Spending at this level could produce a property tax rate increase of 5.25%.

Source: Burlington School District. 1.11.2017