Officials pleased with school budgets passed

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(Host) Vermont education officials say they’re pleased that a strong majority of local school budgets were passed on Town Meeting Day.

An unofficial tally shows that school budgets were passed in 231 towns this year while they were defeated in just 18 communities.

This compares to 19 school budget defeats last year and 42 in 2004.

Jeff Francis is the executive director of the Vermont Superintendents Association.

He thinks part of the success this year is because local school officials worked very hard to inform voters about the different pressures facing their budgets:

(Francis) “From the conversations that I’ve had with superintendents and folks at the school boards association I learned that there was a lot of effort put into responsible budgets and helping voters understand what was involved in the budgets that were presented.”

(Host) Despite the passage of many school budgets, Francis thinks there are still a number of critical financial challenges facing schools in the next few years:

(Francis) “We know that the issues of the CLA, of declining enrollments of energy costs and other factors that are contributing to increased school budget costs make it a dynamic environment.”

(Host) Francis says he expects that lawmakers will look at ways to streamline the state’s school financing laws when they return to Montpelier next for the second half of the legislative session.

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