I am writing you today to share my support for the Springfield School Budget that goes to vote March 3, 2020.
The budget that goes to the voters March 3 is a 4.65% increase. We need this increase to deliver on our promise of a quality education and still continue to make needed improvements. As you can see, in our budget meeting minutes, we had a strong budget committee this year that worked very hard. The committee has gone through the budget. The committee spoke with each individual school to ensure we are putting forth the right budget. The Board and administrations has also spent much time reviewing and fine-tuning this budget. This budget will allow us to meet the needs of our students. It was carefully created to only asking more of our taxpayers if it was an absolute need. The biggest increase in this budget is health care costs. Our health care agreements are now negotiated statewide in Montpelier.
Most of Vermont’s educational struggles are similar around the state. For Springfield, it is very important that we carefully reshape our district in a way that will reduce costs everywhere possible, but done in a way that does not take away from the quality education we are providing our students.
We have been working to redesign our district to both protect and improve our kids’ education while also protecting our citizens from increased tax burden. We will continue to work diligently to align things so we can make further improvements while also minimizing any additional burden on the taxpayer in the year(s) to come.
The big change in the year to come will hopefully be the expansion of our Pre-K programs. You will see a separate ballet article on your voting ballet asking you to approve moneys to expand our current Pre-K program. You can find much information about these changes in our meeting minutes, on SAPA, or by attending one of the informational meetings coming up.
The Pre-K expansion is key to getting a better control on our budget. One of our biggest costs as a district and a state are special education expenses. By putting more effort into our children at a younger age, we will be able to impact our kids’ learning abilities sooner and more effectively. By giving all kids extra help in these Pre-K years, we can expect to see some kids never enter the special education programs. Additionally, many of those who do still enter the special education programs will need less help and will “grow” out of these programs sooner.
By getting ahead of these needs earlier and eliminating some of the future needs, we will both give our students a much stronger start on their education while at the same time save our taxpayers thousands. Some have estimated that for every $1 we spend in Pre-K assistance, we could see $10 savings in the years to follow. I like to call this working smarter, not harder.
I ask you to support our budget to ensure we can continue to be a strong district and give our kids the education they deserve.
Springfield School Board Chair