CHESTER, Vt. – The Green Mountain Unified School District approved the proposed budget of $14,241,241, which represented a 0.94% increase, less than 1% from the previous year’s budget. The increase was primarily due to an increase in the assessment from the Two Rivers Supervisor Union budget of nearly $150,000. These were somewhat offset by changes to the organizational structure of the two elementary schools, sharing Principal Katharine Fogg, as well as savings from the administrative structure of Green Mountain Union High School, which elevated Assistant Principal Mike Ripley to interim principal without replacing his previous position.
The Ludlow Mount Holly Unified Union School District is proposing a budget of $7,235,089 that represents an almost 1% decrease over last year’s budget. Although impacted by an increase of nearly $130,000 in the TRSU assessment, a decrease in tuition costs for middle and high school impacted their final number.
The TRSU budget was impacted by skyrocketing special education costs, upwards of nearly $800,000, which resulted in part in their budget increasing by over 14%, although rising benefit costs were also a factor. The TRSU divides its costs between the two districts with approximately 65% coming from GMUSD and 35% coming from LMHUUSD.
TRSU Superintendent Lauren Fierman said that there is no plan that will stop special education costs from rising but pointed to two current programs through the TRSU, one for autism and the other for social and emotional issues, that saved the district from spending an additional $1 million dollars. She said that she and TRSU Director of Student Services Mary Barton were looking at additional programs, specifically a life skills program, which would allow some students back into the district, saving transportation and additional tuition costs.
Budgets for GMUSD and LMHUUSD will be voted on by Australian ballot following their respective town meetings and in their local polling places, Tuesday, March 2.