A letter to community of Andover, Baltimore, Cavendish, and Chester

Dear Editor,

Thank you to everyone who participated in the effort to refine the 2018-2019 Green Mountain Unified School District budget. The board voted almost unanimously to put forth this budget to the legal voters and feels that it is reflective of community goals for our students.

There will be a Public Informational Meeting Wednesday, May 16 at 7 p.m. at the Green Mountain Union High School Auditorium. We hope you will consider attending, as this presentation will describe the budget in more detail than we can do in writing.

In summary, this proposed budget totals $12,532,143. This represents a net reduction of $15,370 from the original budget presented in March. Of note, the proposed budget represents a decrease in overall spending of 3.13 percent from the 2017-2018 budgets of Andover Town, Baltimore Town, Chester-Andover Elementary School, Cavendish Town Elementary School, and Green Mountain Union High School. This year the statewide average is projected to be a 1.5 percent increase. In other terms, the new budget reflects a cost per pupil of $15,637.41. This is a slight increase for both Green Mountain and Chester-Andover students, but a decrease for Cavendish Town students.

The new proposed budget reflects considerable effort on the part of the Two Rivers Supervisory Union and GMUSD school administration; the TRSU board; the full GMUSD board, as well as the GMUSD subcommittees of finance and visioning; and the public. We greatly appreciate all participation.

Significant changes in this refined budget include the following:

The initial budget presented to voters included a teaching dean for CAES. The revised budget instead includes a new third grade teacher for CAES, and a Positive Behavioral Intervention and Supports assistant. The goal from this change was to increase instructional capabilities at the school while also helping students who might struggle with behavioral issues. For CTES, the budget adds a math interventionist to help students who might need extra assistance in this subject.

Similarly, in the interest of adding more educational offerings to our students, the budget now includes a full-time equivalent (16 hours/week) science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics coordinator. STEAM is an educational approach to learning that uses science, technology, engineering, the arts, and mathematics as access points for guiding student inquiry, dialogue, and critical thinking. This addition to the curriculum will help our students become the innovators, educators, leaders, and learners of the 21st century.  Similarly, the World Language Coordinator position in the original proposed budget, has now been increased to .20 FTE (8 hours/week) to determine how best to integrate world languages at a younger age to our students, as well as provide some direct instruction.  These positions will equally serve both elementary schools in our district.

For the high school students, the new budget increases a Flexible Pathways/Capstone coordinator to a full FTE. The Flexible Pathways Initiative, created by Act 77 in 2013, encourages and supports the creativity of school districts as they develop and expand high-quality educational experiences that are an integral part of secondary education in the evolving 21st century classroom.

The central office of the TRSU also reviewed their budget and was able to reduce the assessment paid by the GMUSD. Additionally, a line-by-line analysis resulted in reductions in the special education and technology assessments.

In summary, this proposed budget attempts to position the schools to move forward with increased educational opportunities for its students as part of a long-term plan, while remaining cognizant of statewide pressures to keep budgets level-funded and the cost per pupil at a manageable level.

Voting on the budget will take place Tuesday, May 22 in polling places in Andover, Baltimore, Cavendish, and Chester. We thank the community for its support of our schools and look forward to your support of this proposed budget on voting day.

Respectfully,

Board of Directors

GMUSD

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