YCQM: March 10, 2013 - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

YCQM: March 10, 2013

Posted: Updated:
BURLINGTON, Vt. -

MORNING EVERYONE AND THANK YOU FOR JOINING US, OUR NEWS MAKE NEWSMAKER IS STEVE DALE, HEAD OF THE VERMONT SCHOOL BOARD ASSOCIATION. THANK YOU FOR BEING HERE.

>> THANK YOU FOR HAVING ME.

>> WE HAVE A LOT TO TALK ABOUT, THE SCHOOL BUDGET RESULTS, OUR HOUSE REMEMBER IS JOINING IN IN THE QUESTIONING.

>> MR. DALE, LET'S TALK ABOUT MEETING DAY, THE DAY AFTER, THE RESULTS AND WHAT THEY MEAN FOR RESIDENTS ACROSS THE STATE.

>> WELL, I COULD START WITH SOME STATISTICS. PEOPLE MAY HAVE HEARD THEM ALREADY, BUT I'LL SHARE THEM WITH YOU AGAIN. OVER THE COURSE OF -- THERE ARE 271 DIFFERENT SCHOOL BUDGET THAT IS GET VOTED ON, 22 OR IT 23 GET VOTED ON IN THE SPRINGTIME, BUT THERE ARE 248 BUDGET THAT IS GET VOTED ON AND THIS YEAR, 228 OF THOSE PASSED. SIXTEEN WERE REJECTED ENTIRELY, FOUR WERE SPLIT. AND THAT'S COMPLICATED FOR MOST PEOPLE TO FIGURE OUT WHAT THAT'S ABOUT. YOU HAVE TO PRESENT IT IN TWO PARTS, THE BIG PART AND THEN A SMALLER PART.

>> VOTE TWICE --

>> YES.

>> IF YOU'RE ABOVE THE RATE OF INANYTHING -- INFLATION, AND HIGHER THAN THE AVERAGE YOU HAVE TO DO THE TWO VOTE.

>> IT'S INTERESTING, YOU MENTIONED 16 SCHOOL BUDGETS OUTRIGHT FAILED. A LOT OF TIMES LEGISLATIVE LEADERS LOOK TO SCHOOL BUDGET RESULTS TO SEE IF THERE WILL BE A TAX REVOLT. IT DOESN'T LOOK LIKE THERE WAS ONE THIS YEAR. WHAT DO YOU MAKE OF THE 16? BECAUSE THAT'S A WIDE RANGE. THERE WERE SOME VERY SMALL INCREASE THAT IS FAILED, LARGE INCREASES THAT WERE FAILED, LARGE INCREASES THAT PASSED. THE GOVERNOR TOLD ME THIS WEEK, THERE WAS A PATTERN. DO YOU AGREE WITH ME? ABSOLUTELY. THERE HAVE BEEN TIMES 35, 40 BUDGETS HAVE GONE DOWN AND USUALLY WHEN THAT HAPPENS THERE IS A MESSAGE BEHIND IT THAT THE CURRENT TAX SYSTEM ISN'T WORKING, SOMETHING NEEDS TO CHANGE. THIS NUMBER -- I ACTUALLY HAVE A GRAPH THAT I CAN SHOW TO YOU WHICH SHOWS THE NUMBER OF BUDGET THAT IS HAVE BEEN DEFEATED OVER THE PAST DECADE, AND THE AVERAGE IS 17. THE LAST TWO YEARS, IT WAS LOWER BECAUSE OF THE RECESSION. EVERYTHING WAS SUPPRESSED. SO THERE WERE ONLY THREE BUDGETS VOTED DOWN YEARS AGO AND SEVEN LAST YEAR, BUT THE NORM IS 12 AND 21, SO WE'RE BACK IN THE MIDDLE. AND THIS IS A BROAD MESSAGE, BUT THERE ARE INTERESTING INDIVIDUAL THINGS THAT I COULD TELL YOU ABOUT. A COUPLE OF BUDGETS THAT WERE VOTED DOWN, THEY HAD PROPOSED A 19 PERCENT INCREASE TO THE VOTERS THAT WERE TURNED AROUND, AND THOSE KINDS OF INCREASES ARE CERTAINLY UNDERSTANDABLE, THAT THE VOTERS MAY HAVE THOUGHT THEY WERE TOO HIGH. HOWEVER, THERE WERE ALSO TWO TIMES THEY WERE BASICALLY LEVEL. IN FACT ONE OF THEM, THE ACTUAL BUDGET WAS DOWN A A LITTLE BIT. THOSE ARE GENERALLY STATEMENTS THAT THE SCHOOL BOARD HAS GONE WILD WITH THEIR SPENDING. IT'S USUALLY SOMETHING ELSE THAT WAS GOING ON THAT PARTICULAR TIME. A BIT OF AN INTERESTING SITUATION IN WINDSOR. THEIR BUDGET PASSED BY TWO VOTES, BUT THE VOTE GOT A LOT OF FEEDBACK FROM LOCAL CITIZENS ABOUT THE BUDGET, AND MOST OF THE FEEDBACK WAS EXPRESSING CONCERN THAT THE BOARD HAD GONE OVERBOARD IN REDUCING THE BUDGET. THEY PROPOSED TO LAY OFF A NUMBER OF STAFF. AND SO THEIR BUDGET PASSED NARROWLY, BUT IT WASN'T ABOUT OVERSPENDING. THE FEEDBACK THEY GOT WAS MORE ABOUT UNDERSPENDING, IF YOU WILL. THERE WAS A BIG CONCERN EXPRESSED OVER THE IPAD, BUT THE QUESTION IS NOT WHETHER TO EQUIP STUDENTS, IT WAS ABOUT WHETHER IPADS WERE THE APPROPRIATE VEHICLE TO DO SO, AND THERE'S A SENSE THAT ONE OF THE REASONS FOR THE DEFEAT OF THE BUDGET MAY HAVE BEEN PEOPLE'S DISAGREEMENT WITH THAT PARTICULAR STRATEGY. I'M INTERPRETING SOME OF THE RESULTS BUT THERE WERE 16 VOTES, AND THERE WERE ALL KINDS OF LOCAL REASONS WHY THAT HAPPENS.

>> DOES IT SURPRISE THAW ONLY 16 WENT DOWN, CONSIDERING SO MANY UPWARD PRESSURES EXIST THIS YEAR, FORCING BUDGETS, AND 5 PERCENT ON AVERAGE HIGHER, WHETHER IT'S HEALTH CARE COSTS GOING UP, OR NEW COLLECTIVE BARGAINING AGREEMENTS, SURPRISED THAT IT STAYED WITHIN THE AVERAGE THERE?

>> I THINK BUDGETS GO DOWN WHEN THE PEOPLE FEEL LIKE THE SCHOOL BOARD AND ADMINISTRATORS WHO PUT TOGETHER THE BUDGET HAVE NOT DONE A RESPONSIBLE JOB. AND IT MAY GO DOWN BECAUSE PEOPLE ARE TRYING TO MAKE A STATEMENT TO THE STATE. BUT IF THAT'S NOT WHERE THEY ARE, THEY'RE LOOKING AT THE BUDGET, LISTENING TO THE PRESENTATION, THEY'RE TRYING TO UNDERSTAND, WAS THIS A REASONABLE BUDGET THAT WAS PUT TOGETHER. SO WHEN YOU START TALKING ABOUT AN AVERAGE BUDGET INCREASE OF 4.5%, THE MATH ISN'T HARD TO DO. THERE ARE A LOT OF OTHER VARIABLES, BUT THE BASIC MATH OF 3 PERCENT, 3 1/2%, SALARY INCREASES, 14 PERCENT INCREASE IN HEALTH CARE, 20 PERCENT INCREASE IN ENERGY COST, DEFERRED MAINTENANCE, SPECIAL EDUCATION, IT DOESN'T TAKE LONG TO -- FIRST OF ALL IT DOESN'T TAKE LONG TO GET TO 4 1/2%. GRANTED THERE WERE MANY DISTRICTS MUCH HIGHER THAN THAT. BUT TO ME, WHAT IT SAYS IS THAT LOCAL VOTERS LOOKED AT THE BUDGET THAT WAS PUT TOGETHER, HEARD THE JUSTIFICATION, AND CAME TO THE CONCLUSION THAT THEY'VE DONE A GOOD JOB. SO THIS IS A -- IT'S DESIGNED TO BE A LOCAL PROCESS, NOT A STATEWIDE PROCESS, SO IT DOESN'T SURPRISE ME. IN FACT, I WENT TO THE TOWN MEETING WITHOUT EXPECTATION BECAUSE IT'S NOT PEOPLE LOOKING FROM THE STATEWIDE VIEW TO SAY WHAT THE LOCAL BUDGETS OUGHT TO LOOK LIKE. THERE ARE OTHER ISSUES THAT ARE STATEWIDE, BUT THAT'S NOT ONE OF THEM.

>> AS YOU KNOW, AT THE TOWN MEETING DAY, THE GOVERNOR, AND THIS HAS HAPPENED NO MANY ADMINISTRATIONS, LIKE TOSS ROLL OUT A GOAL LINE AND THE GOVERNOR DID THAT, SAYING HE WANTED TO SEE THE BUDGETS HELD TO 2 PERCENT. AS YOU MENTIONED, THAT DID NOT HAPPEN, THE AVERAGE WAS UP 4 1/2%. WHY DO YOU THINK THE GOVERNOR WEIGHS IN ON RECOMMENDING -- IS THIS THE WHOLE BUDGET BACK, DO YOU THINK IT HAS AN OUTCOME ON HOW TO DEFEND THEM?

>> PROPERTY TAXES ARE DRIVEN BY STATEWIDE TAX POLICY. THEY'RE DRIVEN BY HOW MUCH MONEY THE STATE PUTS IN TO THE EDUCATION FUND. AND THEY ARE DRIVEN BY LOCAL BUDGETS. THEY ARE DRIVEN BY ALL KINDS OF THINGS. CERTAINLY, ALL STATEWIDE POLITICIANS WOULD LIKE TO SEE PROPERTY TAXES CONSTRAINED. AS WOULD -- OR WOULD PROPERTY OWNERS OR TAXPAYERERS. IT'S NOT SURPRISING THAT THE GOVERNOR ASKS FOR RESTRAINT. WE'RE NOT OFFENDED BY THAT AND HE NEEDS TO SAY THAT, AND BOARDS FOR THE MOST PART DO EXERCISE RESTRAINT AND FOR THIS YEAR, THE UPWARD PRESSURES CAUSED BUDGETS TO BE HIGHER. AND THE FOCUS IN THE PAST WAS EDUCATION, YOU MENTIONED PROPERTY TAXES, THERE WAS A PROPOSAL TO THE LEGISLATURE THAT REDUCED THE PROPERTY TAX RATE FOR RESIDENTS 5 PERCENT, NON-RESIDENTS, 6 CENTS -- 5 CENTS, 6 CENTS, AND WE SAW AT THE TOWN HALL MEETING, CABOT, VOTED TO STAY OPEN, 65 KIDS -- IT WAS A CONTENTIOUS VOTE, AND THE BUDGET KEEPS GOING UP EVERY YEAR. THERE ARE QUESTIONS ABOUT THAT SPECIFIC QUESTION. THE INSTITUTE MAKES A CLEAR AND UNEQUIVOCAL STATEMENT THAT EDUCATION SPENDING IN GENERAL IS SUSTAINABLE AND THEY LOOKED OVER THE LAST 15 YEARS AND SHOWED ABOUT 6 PERCENT OF THE GROSS STATE PRODUCT IS SPENT ON EDUCATION AND IT'S BEEN FAIRLY FLAT. AS COMPARED WITH HEALTH CARE EXPENSES, WHICH ARE CLEARLY NOT ON A SUSTAINABLE PATH. I THINK IT WENT OVER A 20 YEAR PERIOD FROM 10 PERCENT OF GROSS STATE PRODUCT TO 20 PERCENT OF GROSS STATE PRODUCT. IT'S NOT MY EXPERTISE BUT THAT IS ONE PERSPECTIVE. I MUST SAY, A REALIST, THE FACT IS WHEN BUDGETS ARE GOING UP AT TWICE THE RATE OF INFLATION, SOMETHING, YOU KNOW -- THERE NEEDS TO BE A CLOSE LOOK AT WHAT COULD BE DONE, AND SO WE ARE VERY SUPPORTIVE AT THE SCHOOL BOARDS ASSOCIATION AND I THINK ALL SCHOOL BOARDS ARE, VERY WILLING TO HAVE AN HONEST LOOK AT ALL THE VARIABLES THAT GO INTO BUDGETS. THE LATEST THING THAT IS DISCUSSED PUBLICLY IS PEOPLE SAY WELL, SCHOOL BOARDS NEED TO EXERCISE RESTRAINT. THAT IS TRUE AND THERE ARE THINGS LOCAL SCHOOL BOARDS NEED TO DO AND THERE ARE STATEWIDE ISSUES THAT AFFECT THIS AS WELL AND WE NEED TO BE WILLING TO LOOK ON BOTH SIDES OF THAT EQUATION.

>> HOW DOES THE ENROLLMENT RELATE TO THAT EQUATION.

>> IT'S PRETTY STRAIGHTFORWARD, THIS YEAR THE POPULATION IS GOING DOWN 1.1%, I BELIEVE, AND I'M SURE YOU'VE HEARD THIS PLENTY OF TIMES BEFORE, THAT IF YOU LOSE -- IF YOU LOST KIDS IN 20 STUDENT GROUPS, YOU COULD -- AND THEY'RE IN THE SAME GRADE, YOU COULD CLEARLY CUT A STAFF MEMBER EVERY TIME. THAT'S NOT THE WAY IT WORKS. IT WORKS IN BITS AND PIECES, THERE ARE SOME KIDS THAT SHOWN GROWING, KIDS THAT HAVE DROPPED WHERE THE POPULATION IS SLOWING. SO IT'S NOT A SIMPLE MATTER. CLEARLY, WE NEED TO CONTINUE TO LOOK AT STAFF TO STUDENT RATIO AND ADJUST OUR SPENDING

>> ADJUST OUR SPENDING HOW?

>> THE DECISIONS THAT HAVE TO GET MADE LOCALLY ARE HOW MANY SECOND GRADES ARE YOU GOING TO HAVE, HOW MANY ADMINISTRATORS AROR GOING TO HAVE, AT WHAT POINT DO YOU MAKE ALTERATIONS, AT WHAT POINT DO YOU START LOOKING AT YOUR NEIGHBORS AND SAY SHOULD WE GET TOGETHER WITH OUR NEIGHBORING DISTRICT AND TRY TO DO THINGS EITHER MORE EFFICIENTLY OR COULD WE MORE EFFECTIVELY HIRE ONE FRENCH TEACHER FOR THE TWO SCHOOL DISTRICTS, THOSE ARE THE KIND OF THINGS THAT LOCAL BOARDS CAN DO TO TRY TO ADDRESS THE REDUCED -- OR THE FALLING STUDENT POPULATION.

>> THE STAFFING, AS FAR AS WHERE WE'VE GOT THE MOST WIGGLE ROOM TO CUT OR ADD --

>> LOCALLY, THAT'S WHERE THE MONEY IS, THE EXPENSE IS. THAT'S NOT THE ONLY THING THAT CAN BE DONE ABOUT EDUCATION SPENDING. LOCALLY, THAT'S THE PRIMARY THING. FRANKLY, IT'S A TOUGH ONE FOR SCHOOL BOARDS. THEIR GREATEST PRESSURE COMES FROM CITIZENS WHO WANT MORE, WHO DON'T WANT YOU TO REDUCE THEIR SECOND GRADE CLASSROOM AND INCREASE YOUR CLASS SIZE FROM 12 TO 18 OR WHATEVER THE CASE MAY BE. SO THERE ARE AGREEMENTS THAT SAY THAT THE LAST PERSON HIRED IS THE LAST PERSON WHO LEAVES. I THINK THERE'S A HUMAN FACTOR THAT COMES INTO THESE DECISIONS, THE SCHOOL BOARD TRYING TO DECIDE, DO WE REDUCE BY FIVE OR EIGHT STAFF , THEY HAVE TO FIGURE OUT WHO DO WE LOSE IN THIS EQUATION AND THAT ENTERS INTO DIFFICULT DECISIONS THEY HAVE TO MAKE.

>> SOMETHING NEEDS TO CHANGE -- DO YOU THINK SOMETHING NEEDS TO CHANGE WITH HOW THE TEACHER UNION NEGOTIATIONS HAPPEN WITH SCHOOL DISTRICTS?

>> YES. I DO. YOU KNOW, ONE OF THE -- IF YOU THINK ABOUT THE STATEWIDE FACTORS THAT PUSH BUDGETS, IT IS BOTH THAT LOCAL DISCUSSION I WAS TALKING ABOUT, BUT THERE'S A STATEWIDE DIMENSION TO THAT. SO LET'S TALK ABOUT SALARIES FOR A MINUTE. SALARIES ARE DETERMINED -- ALTHOUGH THEY'RE AGREED UPON, LOCAL BOARD BY LOCAL BOARD AND NEGOTIATED SUPERVISORY UNION BY SUPERVISORY UNION, THE FACT IS, THEY'RE NOT AN ISOLATED -- IT'S NOT AN ISOLATED NEGOTIATION. ONE TOWN NEGOTIATES, THE TOWN NEXT DOOR NEGOTIATE, AS SOON AS THERE'S AN AGREEMENT, THAT AGREEMENT AFFECTS THE ONE NEXT DOOR. SO ALTHOUGH WE HAVE HELD ON TO LOCAL NEGOTIATIONS AS OPPOSED TO A STATEWIDE VIEW, THE FACT IS THAT IT ENDS UP BEING -- THE SALARIES THAT ONE LOCAL DISTRICT PAVES UNDER YOUR BUDGET IS AFFECTED BY A STATEWIDE PICTURE. SO WE ARE ACTUALLY SUPPORTIVE OF LOOKING AT THE ADVANTAGES OF STATEWIDE APPROACH TO NEGOTIATING SALARY AND BENEFITS.

>> WE'RE GOING TO -- WE ARE TALKING TO

>> WELCOME BACK. WE'RE TALKING EDUCATION, KIDS AND BUDGETS WITH STEVE DALE OF THE VERMONT SCHOOL BOARDS ASSOCIATION, AND DURING THE BREAK, WE WERE TALKING ABOUT THE SCHOOL BOARD PUSHING FOR SOME KIND OF UNIVERSAL CONTRACT. AS YOU KNOW, STEVE, HIGHLY CONTROVERSIAL WITH THE STATE EMPLOYEES UNION.

>> IT'S PROBABLY NOT THE STATE EMPLOYEES UNION.

>> I APOLOGIZE. STATE EMPLOYEES UNION WILL NOT WEIGH IN ON THAT. THE STATE TEACHERS UNION. I APOLOGIZE.

>> I THINK EVERYONE UNDERSTANDS THAT IT'S A COMPLICATED AND COSTLY PROCESS RIGHT NOW. THERE ARE MANY SCHOOL BOARDS THAT -- I SHOULDN'T SAY MANY. THERE ARE SOME SCHOOL BOARDS THAT LOVE THE PROCESS, AND LIKE THE FACT THAT THEY CAN INFLUENCE THE NATURE OF -- INFLUENCE THE NATURE OF WHAT TAKES PLACE BY THAT LOCAL NEGOTIATION. THERE ARE MANY OTHERS WHO WOULD GLADLY HAVE HAD THE SALARIES AND BENEFITS NEGOTIATED STATEWIDE. WE ARE NOT IN FAVOR OF A NEGOTIATED STALS DID WIDE -- STATEWIDE CONTRACT. WE ARE IN FAVOR OF LOOKING AT STATEWIDE NEGOTIATIONS SAND SALLOWO AND SALARY AND FRINGE. THE LOCAL WORKING CONDITIONS SHOULD REMAIN AT THE LOCAL TABLE, BECAUSE EDUCATION IS SO, SO LOCAL. I WAS GOING TO ASK YOU ABOUT THAT. GO AHEAD.

>> TALKING ABOUT STATEWIDE INFLUENCES ON OUR BUDGETS, ONE IS SALARY. IF YOU NEGOTIATE ON A STATEWIDE BASIS FOR SALARY, IN THE SHORT RUN, I DON'T THINK ANYBODY CAN GUARANTEE IT WOULD REDUCE SALARY CUTS, BUT THERE WOULD BE ALL KINDS OF POTENTIAL BENEFITS, AND IT WOULD LIKE HE WILL MAKE THE LONG RUN MUCH MORE PREDICTABLE. RIGHT NOW, I DON'T THINK IT'S VERY PREDICTABLE AND THERE'S A LOT OF THIS BACK AND FORTH STUFF THAT GOES ON TOWN TO TOWN. IN TERMS OF HEALTH CARE, I THINK THAT WE REALLY BELIEVE THAT, BECAUSE IT'S GOING TO BECOME A STATE FUNCTION IN THE RELATIVELY NEAR FUTURE, THERE OUGHT TO BE SOME CONSIDERATION OF, IN ESSENCE, TAKING HEALTH CARE OFF THE TABLE SOONER THAN LATER. OFF THE BARGAINING TABLE. WE'RE VERY CONCERNED WE HAVE 65, 70 NEGOTIATIONS OG GONE AND -- GOING ON AND WE ARE -- BECAUSE THE STATE DEPENDING UPON ALL OF THE SCHOOL BOARD MEMBERS TO BEGIN TO UNDERSTAND WHAT'S HAPPENING AT THE TRANSITION, AND IT'S ENORMOUSLY COMPLICATED FOR ALL OF US. THERE ARE FAR MORE UNKNOWNS THAN KNOWNS AT THIS POINT.

>> HOW DO YOU TAKE THAT OFF THE TABLE WHEN SOMETIMES THESE CONTRACTS ARE ON A YEAR TO YEAR BASIS BECAUSE THERE'S NO CERTAINTY ABOUT EXACTLY WHAT'S COMING IN 2017?

>> YOU CAN'T JUST TAKE THINGS OFF THE TABLE IF THEY'VE BEEN AGREED TO. BUT THIS ARE MANY CONTRACTS THAT ARE BEING NEGOTIATED NOW. WE HAVE BASICALLY ADVISED SCHOOL BOARDS TO NOT MAKE LONG TERM COMMITMENTS ON HEALTH CARE BECAUSE OF ALL THE CHANGES. THE CONCERN IS THAT, NUMBER ONE, WE NEED TO MAKE SURE OUR EMPLOYEES CONTINUE TO HAVE GOOD HEALTH CARE COVERAGE IN THE NEW ROLE SO NOBODY IS SUGGESTING A REDUCTION IN HEALTH CARE BENEFITS. WHAT THEY'RE CONCERNED ABOUT IS IN THE TRANSITION TO THE NEW SYSTEM WE WANT TO MAKE SURE THAT THE INTERESTS OF TAXPAYERS ARE TAKEN INTO ACCOUNT. I MEAN, WHAT WE'RE TALKING ABOUT HERE IS EDUCATION COSTS AND THEIR SUSTAINABILITY. AND FRANKLY, A SINGLE SCHOOL BOARD SOMEWHERE IN VERMONT IS NOT GOING TO UNDERSTAND WHAT THIS ALL LOOKS LIKE, WHERE THE POTENTIAL -- WHERE ARE THE POTENTIAL INVESTMENTS THAT MIGHT SAVE LOCAL TAXPAYERS MONEY. WE DON'T YET UNDERSTAND THAT BUT WE DO KNOW THERE ARE A LOT OF MOVING PARTS AND IT'S SOMETHING THAT OUGHT TO BE LOOKED AT AS WE LOOK AT COST.

>> AS WE TOUCHED ON EARLIER, A 14 PERCENT INCREASE IN HEALTH CARE COSTS FOR MANY DISTRICTS THIS YEAR. ARE WE LOOKING AT ANOTHER SIMILAR RISE IN A YEAR -- IN THE YEAR THAT FOLLOWS THAT?

>> I DON'T KNOW IF THAT'S INFORMATION -- I DON'T KNOW THAT ANYBODY THAT -- ANYBODY THAT GIVES THAW INFORMATION WILL BE ESTIMATING THAT. I'VE HEARD SOME PEOPLE SAY THAT NEXT YEAR WILL BE 14 PERCENT, BUT IT WILL CERTAINLY BE BIGGER THAN IT HAS BEEN THE LAST THREE YEARS. THE LAST THREE YEARS, IT WAS VERY LOW. ONE YEAR I THINK THERE WAS NO INCREASE. FOLKS ARE QUITE CLEAR THAT THAT'S NOT GOING TO BE THE CASE GOING INTO THE FUTURE. I THINK WHAT WE'RE LOOKING FOR IN TERMS OF EDUCATION COSTS IS MORE PREDICTABILITY, AND AGAIN, HEALTH CARE IS GOING TO BE STATE FUNCTION. THAT'S THE DECISION THAT'S BEEN MADE BY OUR LEGISLATURE. SO THE SOONER THAT WE TAKE A STATEWIDE VIEW OF THE EVOLUTION, PROBABLY THE BETTER OFF THE AVERAGE PROPERTY TAXPAYER WILL BE. SO I'VE HEARD STATEWIDE ISSUE IS ENERGY, DON'T HAVE THE SPECIFICS ON THAT BUT CERTAINLY WE HAVE TO BELIEVE THAT OVER TIME, THERE MAY WELL BE A STATEWIDE APPROACH TO ENERGY-RELATED ISSUES THAT COULD BE ADVANTAGEOUS TO LOCAL SCHOOLS, SO I'LL JUST LEAVE IT AT THAT.

>> APPROACH HOW?

>> I COULD THROW OUT IDEAS, WHICH IS BASICALLY WHAT THEY ARE, BUT CERTAINLY, THE COST, IF FUEL GOES UP 20 PERCENT, GOES UP 10 PERCENT NEXT YEAR, THAT WILL GO STRAIGHT INTO SCHOOL DISTRICT BUDGETS AND IT WILL BE PRESENTED AS AN UNCONTROLLABLE. WHICH IT IS. YOU HAVE TO HEAT YOUR SCHOOL. BUT IF THERE WAS A STATE APPROACH AS TO HOW WE CONSTRAIN THE COST OF FUEL FOR ALL THE SCHOOLS IN THE STATE, SOME KIND OF A LARGE STRATEGY, THAT WOULD HELP LOCAL SCHOOLS WHEN THEY'RE BUILDING THEIR BUDGET. BY OCTOBER OF THE YEAR THAT YOU'RE GOING TO BE ADOPTING A BUDGET, IT'S TOO LATE TO HAVE THE CONVERSATION ABOUT NEW STRATEGIES FOR A STATEWIDE CONSTRAINT OF SPENDING.

>> WHAT YOU'RE SAYING IS A LOT OF SCHOOL BOARDS ARE HAPPENING IN THE LOCAL DISTRICT AND THERE NEEDS TO BE A STATEWIDE APPROACH ON WHAT'S HAPPENING WITH THE SCHOOL BUDGET.

>> THERE COULD BE. WHAT I'M PRESENTING TO YOU -- I'M TRYING TO GIVE YOU A BROADER VIEW OF THE FACT THAT THIS ISN'T JUST A SCHOOL BOARD SITTING DOWN AT THE TABLE SAYING WE NEED TO CONSTRAIN OUR SPENDING BECAUSE THE GOVERNOR OR LEGISLATORS TOLD TO YOU DO DO IT. THE FACT IS YOU'RE LOOKING AT 20 PERCENT INCREASE IN FUEL, 14 PERCENT INCREASE IN HEALTH CARE AND YOU HAVE TO PUT IT IN THE BUDGET OR YOU'RE GOING TO RUN A DEFICIT. WHAT I'M SUGGESTING IS THESE ARE STATEWIDE CONVERSATIONS, NOT THE LOCAL BOARD. WE DON'T WANT THE STATE DICTATING HOW MANY SECOND GRADES YOU'RE GOING TO HAVE IN YOUR SCHOOL. THAT'S A LOCAL DECISION THAT NEEDS TO GET SORTED OUT. BUT THESE KINDS OF THINGS COULD BE VERY HELPFUL TO BOARDS TO BETTER HANDLE SPENDING. SPECIAL EDUCATION IS AN ESSENTIAL COMMITMENT THAT WE MAKE TO STUDENTS THAT HAVE ALL KINDS OF SPECIAL NEEDS. IT IS A MAJOR UPWARD PRESSURE. WHEN YOU HEAR THE PRESENTATIONS IN TOWN MEETING THAT SAY SALARIES WERE UP THIS MUCH, HEALTH CARE WAS UP THAT MUCH, HEATING BILLS ARE UP THAT MUCH AND SPECIAL EDUCATION IS UP THAT MUCH, THERE'S A WHOLE LOT OF DECISION MAKING THAT GOES INTO THOSE BUDGETS AND THOSE DECISIONS. WE HOPE THAT THE STRONG MOVE TO A MORE PERSONALIZE DOLLARS EDUCATIONAL PROGRAM FOR ALL CHILDREN IN ALL SCHOOLS OVER TIME MAY RESULT IN LESS INTENSIVE SERVICES NEEDED TO BE USED TO SUPPORT PARTICULAR -- SOME INDIVIDUAL KIDS, THE ARGUMENT BEING THAT EARLY EDUCATION AS TOUTED BY THE GOVERNOR CAN CONTRIBUTE TO A DECLINE IN SPECIAL EDUCATION NEEDS?

>> CERTAINLY PRE-K CAN HELP AFFECT THOSE NUMBERS AS WELL BUT I WAS REFERRING MORE TO THE GENERAL MOVEMENT OF SCHOOL BUDGET ASSOCIATIONS, THE STATE BOARD, THE AGENCY OF EDUCATION, THE GOVERNOR, HAVE ALL BEEN STRONGLY PROMOTING THE IDEA THAT WE NEED TO BE MUCH MORE PERSONALIZE DOLLARS IN OUR APPROACH TO EDUCATION, MEETING THE NEEDS OF EVERY INDIVIDUAL CHILD, ENGAGING EVERY CHILD.

>> THAT'S NOT HAPPENING NOW.

>> OH, IT HAPPENS IN MANY PLACES, WITH MANY CHILDREN, BUT SYSTEMS ARE NOT BROADLY BASED, BROADLY SET UP TO DO THAT, WHICH I CAN TALK A LITTLE BIT MORE ABOUT. BUT MY POINT IS THAT ON SPECIAL EDUCATION, THERE ARE SOME PRACTICE ISSUES THAT MAY BE ABLE TO BE PROMOTED BY THE STATE WHICH COULD HELP TURN THE CURVE ON SPECIAL EDUCATION FUNDING.

>> THE GOVERNOR PROPOSED AN IDEA THAT IS GETTING PUSHBACK, EXPANDING THE USE OF PROPERTY TAXES TO PAY FOR HIGHER EDUCATION. WHERE DOES THE BOARD STAND ON THIS DUAL ENROLLMENT.

>> WE ELECTRONICALLY SUPPORT THE LEGISLATION THAT'S BEEN PROPOSED, THE BENEFITS -- IT IS SMALL COMPARED TO THE TOTAL PICTURE. THE FIRST TWO YEARS IT WOULD BE FUNDED BY NEXT GENERATION MONEY AND NEXT YEAR, THE COST WOULD BE SPLIT BETWEEN LOCAL BUDGETS AND THE STATE. I THINK THE TOTAL AMOUNTS OF MONEY THAT WE'RE TALKING ABOUT ARE IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD OF $400,000. THIS IS IN THE SCHEME OF THE 1.4, $1.5 BILLION BUDGET. IT'S A SMALL AMOUNT OF MONEY. WE NEED TO MAKE A CHANGE IN OUR EDUCATION SYSTEM, IN OUR -- PARTICULARLY IN HIGH SCHOOL OPPORTUNITIES. IF WE'RE GOING TO ENGAGE EVERY CHILD IN A -- WHAT WE'VE COME TO CALL OUR LOCAL EDUCATION, THERE HAVE TO BE MANY MORE OPPORTUNITIES THAN CERTAINLY PERHAPS WHEN YOU AND I WERE IN HIGH SCHOOL AND INCLUDED IN THOSE OPPORTUNITIES NEED TO BE THE IDEA OF DUAL ENROLLMENT. IT'S WORKED SUCCESSFULLY IN A NUMBER OF SCHOOLS IN VERMONT ALREADY. WE NEED TO HAVE THOSE OPPORTUNITIES ACROSS THE STATE SO WE'RE STRONGLY IN SUPPORT OF THE PROPOSAL.

>> YOU KNOW BEING ON THE SCHOOL BOARD CAN BE INTERESTING, EXHAUSTING, STRESSFUL, YOU NAME IT. THERE ARE HUNDREDS OF NEW PEOPLE WHO ARE ELECTED TO SCHOOL BOARDS, EVERY DAY. WHAT WOULD YOUR ADVICE BE TO STPHEPL.

>> TO THE PEOPLE WHO HAVE BEEN ELECTED? IT ISN'T WHAT MY ADVICE WOULD BE. THAT'S PART OF OUR REASON TO EXIST. WE EXIST FOR TWO REASONS, ONE IS TO BE THE COLLECTIVE VOICE OF SCHOOL BOARDS AND PUBLIC POLICY DEBATES, BUT THE OTHER IS TO HELP PEOPLE KNOW WHAT THEIR JOB IS SUPPOSED TO BE AND TO HELP THEM TO DO IT. SO WE SEND A PACKET OUT THIS WEEK TO EVERY NEW BOARD MEMBER, BASICALLY IT'S A WELCOME TO YOUR SCHOOL BOARD SERVICE KIND OF LETTER, AND WE PROVIDE THEM A LOT OF INFORMATION, AND THEN INVITE THEM TO A TRAINING PROGRAM THAT WE OFFER CALLED THE CENTRAL WORK OF SCHOOL BOARDS AND OFFERING THAT IN 12 LOCATIONS ALL OVER THE STATE OF VERMONT, AND WE STRONGLY URGE PEOPLE TO ENGAGE IN THAT PROGRAM EARLY ON. EVERYBODY IS ON A SCHOOL BOARD FOR A REASON AND IT'S USUALLY BECAUSE THEY WANT THE BEST EDUCATION FOR THEIR CHILD OR GRANDCHILD, MAYBE JUST OUT OF CIVIC DUTY, IT COULD BE BECAUSE THEY THINK SCHOOLS SPEND TOO MUCH MONEY. THERE'S ALL KINDS OF REASONS WHY PEOPLE GET ON A BOARD. BUT VERY QUICKLY YOU UNDERSTAND THAT YOUR JOB IS A VERY HIGH LEVEL OVERSIGHT JOB OF A VERY IMPORTANT ENDEAVOR, THE EDUCATION OF YOUNG PEOPLE AND YOUR RESPONSIBILITIES GO WAY BEYOND WHATEVER MAY HAVE PROMPTED YOU TO FILE A PETITION TO BE A SCHOOL BOARD MEMBER. SO IT'S IMPORTANT THAT YOU GET THE RIGHT PERSPECTIVE ON THAT JOB EARLY ON.

>> LEGISLATURE IS DUE TO BEGIN LOOKING AT ACT 0668, FUNDING FOR SCHOOLS IN THE COMING YEAR WITH THE REPORT DUE IN DECEMBER. I KNOW LAST TIME WE SPOKE, YOU CALLED ACT 60681 OF THE FAIREST EDUCATION SYSTEMS IN THE COUNTRY. HOW CAN IT BE IMPROVED?

>> FIRST OF ALL, I AGREE WITH MYSELF. WE AT THE SCHOOL BOARD ASSOCIATION ARE STRONGLY SUPPORTIVE OF ACT 6068, THOSE THAT EXIST. BUT WE DO HAVE A COUPLE OF THOUGHTS ON THAT --

>> WELL, JUST A FEW SECONDS LEFT, STEVE.

>> OKAY. THE FIRST THING IS THAT WE OUGHT TO BE -- I THINK THIS IS WHAT THE LEGISLATURE IS PROPOSING. WE OUGHT TO BE PUTTING TOGETHER A GROUP TO GET DEEPLY INTO ALL THE ISSUES ABOUT EDUCATION FUNDING. PART OF IT IS AGREEING, FIRST OF ALL, ON THE NATURE OF THE CURRENT PROBLEM. WE TEND TO DEFINE A PROBLEM IN JANUARY, THAT SCHOOL BOARDS ARE SPENDING TOO MUCH MONEY, BUT THIS IS OBVIOUSLY MUCH MORE COMPLEX IN THAT IT -- WE'RE GLAD TO BE PART OF THAT CONVERSATION.

>> WE'LL TALK ABOUT IT AGAIN I'M SURE. WE'RE RUNNING LOW ON TIME.

>> THAT'S RIGHT. STEVE DALE, THE VERMONT SCHOOL BOARD ASSOCIATION, THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR JOINING US.

>> YOU'RE WELCOME.

>> AND THANK YOU AT HOME FOR WATCHING. HAVE A GREAT SUMMER, EVERYONE! CAPTIONING PROVIDED BY CAPTION ASSOCIATES, LLC WWW.CAPTIONASSOCIATES.COM

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    Hinesburg man in custody after alleged shooting

    Thursday, April 24 2014 11:56 PM EDT2014-04-25 03:56:35 GMT
    Police say a 71-year-old man is in custody accused of shooting a female relative in the hand and chest around 8:30 Thursday evening.The incident happened on Richmond Road. The Hinesburg police chief says the man was arrested without incident. He and the victim are long time residents of Hinesburg. Detectives are still investigating what sparked the shooting. But the chief says neither the victim nor the shooter have had any interactions with police before this. The woman was taken to Fletche...More >>
    Police say a 71-year-old man is in custody accused of shooting a female relative in the hand and chest around 8:30 Thursday evening.The incident happened on Richmond Road. The Hinesburg police chief says the man was arrested without incident. He and the victim are long time residents of Hinesburg. Detectives are still investigating what sparked the shooting. But the chief says neither the victim nor the shooter have had any interactions with police before this. The woman was taken to Fletche...More >>
  • Robber hits the same bank twice?

    Robber hits the same bank twice?

    Thursday, April 24 2014 7:01 PM EDT2014-04-24 23:01:18 GMT
    A security guard and bank manager at the People's United in St. Albans held a would-be robber until police arrived. And investigators think he is the same man who robbed the bank Monday.More >>
    A security guard and bank manager at the People's United in St. Albans held a would-be robber until police arrived. And investigators think he is the same man who robbed the bank Monday.More >>
  • Man shot by Vt. cop faces charges

    Man shot by Vt. cop faces charges

    Thursday, April 24 2014 7:31 PM EDT2014-04-24 23:31:24 GMT
    A man shot by an officer inside the Bennington police station faces charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.More >>
    A man shot by an officer inside the Bennington police station faces charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.More >>
  • Man charged in Vt. teacher killing wants confession tossed

    Man charged in Vt. teacher killing wants confession tossed

    Thursday, April 24 2014 2:29 PM EDT2014-04-24 18:29:39 GMT
    A Vermont man charged with killing a popular St. Johnsbury teacher is asking a judge to exclude from his upcoming trial a detailed confession he gave to police investigators.More >>
    A Vermont man charged with killing a popular St. Johnsbury teacher is asking a judge to exclude from his upcoming trial a detailed confession he gave to police investigators.More >>
  • 2 Vermont men charged in guns and drug case

    2 Vermont men charged in guns and drug case

    Thursday, April 24 2014 2:13 PM EDT2014-04-24 18:13:57 GMT
    Two Vermont men are facing federal charges stemming from the left of firearms from a Hardwick gun store and the trading of some of those guns for drugs.More >>
    Two Vermont men are facing federal charges stemming from the left of firearms from a Hardwick gun store and the trading of some of those guns for drugs.More >>
  • Drug bust in Burlington's Old North End

    Drug bust in Burlington's Old North End

    Thursday, April 24 2014 6:18 PM EDT2014-04-24 22:18:27 GMT
    Police made a drug bust Wednesday night in Burlington's Old North End.More >>
    Police made a drug bust Wednesday night in Burlington's Old North End.More >>
  • Maine wire fraud trial of Vt. man set to conclude Friday

    Maine wire fraud trial of Vt. man set to conclude Friday

    Thursday, April 24 2014 5:49 PM EDT2014-04-24 21:49:11 GMT
    The wire fraud trial of a Vermont man convicted for the 2010 explosion that killed two workers at a New Hampshire gunpowder plant is nearing conclusion.More >>
    The wire fraud trial of a Vermont man convicted for the 2010 explosion that killed two workers at a New Hampshire gunpowder plant is nearing conclusion.More >>
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