Springfield School District 2021 budget

Dear Editor,

I am writing to request your support of the Springfield School District 2021 budget. The school board and budget committee spent several meetings reviewing the operating budget, asking questions, having discussions, and unanimously approving the school budget sent to voters.

The warning article for the budget reads: “Shall the voters of the Springfield Town School District approve the School Board to spend thirty two million, four hundred thirty one thousand, five hundred nine dollars ($32,431,509.00), 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 $18,324 per pupil. This projected spending per equalized pupil is 3.87% lower than spending for the current year.

At first glance this number is a sticker shock and my immediate response is always, “holy cow!” When you dig further and further into the school budget process you begin to learn all the funding nuances that are associated with the process. Of the above stated number, roughly $10.5 million will be raised through local taxes. Yes, the other money has to come from taxes raised in the state of Vermont, but the other funds will not end up back in your pocket. The Vermont State Education fund is comprised of 100% of your sales and use tax, 33% of your gas tax, 33% of your diesel tax, 25% of your meals and room tax, and 100% of your lottery purchases.

This school budget will result in a reduction to the local school tax rate, so you will see your school taxes go down next year. The anticipated reduction is $0.0125 from last year’s rate. I have been on the school board for three years and I have seen the school budget fail two of the three years on the first vote. During this same time, the town budget passes the first time voted upon. Springfield has the highest municipal tax rate in the state and the education homestead tax rate is in the top 12% of the state. Yes, our taxes are high and the administration and the school board are working hard to reduce spending. This budget includes the reduction of a half-time art, half-time music, and half-time physical education teaching positions at the high school. This is not the elimination of these programs, only a reduction in staff. The current high school enrollment and class sizes in these curriculum areas led the board to the decision of reduction. It is anticipated that these reductions will lead to increased enrollment in other classes at the school. This is the result of being fiscally responsible while maintaining student offerings. I believe this to be a fair budget that the town can support.

There will be a second article for the community to vote on. It will read: “Shall the voters of the Springfield Town School District create an operating expense fund, with an initial transfer of $400,000.00 from the district’s FY20 surplus, to be under the control of the board of school directors, for the purpose of paying operational expenses that were not anticipated at the time of the budget preparation by the board?”

So what is this? Last year we had an operating surplus due to Covid. The board and administration is asking to create a tax stabilization fund to minimize the impact of state education funding on the Springfield taxpayer. This fund would be used to reduce the impact of state education funding and real estate appraisals. This would mean that if state funding was going to cause an increase to our tax bill, the board could use this fund to reduce the increase for the taxpayer. In the current state of the country due to the pandemic, this would be very valuable for the town. This year we are fortunate that our school taxes will be going down; next year we may not be so lucky and this would help insulate us from state level funding that we cannot control locally.

I ask that you support both of these articles to enable the district to give our students the education that they deserve. These students will be the future of our town. Please reach out to any board member with questions about the budget; we are here to support the community members. If we do not have the answer to your question, we will get back you with the information. You can also email budgetquestion@ssdvt.org.


Troy Palmer

Springfield School Board Director

Back To Top