5th try for Walden on school budget - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

5th try for Walden on school budget

Posted: Updated:
WALDEN, Vt. -

A trickle of residents stop by Walden's Town Hall to cast their ballots for the school budget.

Supporters hope that the fifth try is a charm.

"I voted for the budget. We have to educate our kids. It's just the way everything is," said Francis Clifford of Walden. "Everybody educated my kids. We got to educate other people's kids."

The $2.7 million school budget was approved by a narrow, four-vote margin back on Town Meeting Day. But in a reconsideration vote later in May, it was shot down by voters. Then $20,000 in cuts later, voters rejected the budget again in June and July. Frustrated school board officials say the latest $2.6 million budget on the ballot cuts to the bone.

"If we were to cut anymore we would not only drastically affect the quality of the children's education, but we would not be able to meet the letter of the law," said Ray Lewis, a member of the Walden School Board.

Lewis says an anti-school budget campaign-- in the form of anonymous postcards to voters-- is spreading incomplete information about the budget by not taking into account factors like increased revenue. He says the 5 percent increase over last year comes after holding the budget steady during the recession and reflects fixed costs like current teacher salaries and special education.

"We're historically at the bottom of the list of how much people spend. And I think people need to come to grips with that and accept that even though things are getting more expensive, we're trying hard to provide a quality education without it costing the voters of Walden too much money," Lewis said.

Residents, even those who attended the school, say they're concerned about what they perceive as ballooning budgets.

"When they're as high as this one was, I think it needs to be voted down just because it is one of the higher ones and this is a small school," said Victoria Harshman of Walden.

Others say they remember the town's old one-room schoolhouse and question staff levels and the need for busses.

With only about half the registered voters coming out for the last two tries, Ray Lewis says it's also a matter of kick-starting civic engagement.

"If they have a question about the budget, they should contact a board member or come to a meeting so that they could learn the truth about what's going on with the budget," Lewis said.

Without a budget, the school has the authority by state law to continue operating at 87 percent of last year's budget.

"It is not an option to go out of the business," said Steve Dale of the Vermont Association of School Boards. "A town can choose to close its public school and tuition its students, but it can't choose not to educate its students and ultimately a school board needs to be given authorization to expend the funds that are necessary to do so."

State education officials say the town is close to entering uncharted waters in state law if voters continue to sink the school budget.

State officials say the only town in recent history to go so close to the budgetary brink was Benson. Back in the early 1990s, the town went a whole year without a new budget.

  • Local NewsMore>>

  • Hinesburg man in custody after alleged shooting

    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 >>
  • Springfield police search for armed robber

    Springfield police search for armed robber

    Friday, April 25 2014 12:00 AM EDT2014-04-25 04:00:49 GMT
    Springfield Police need your help to find an armed robber. They say yesterday a white man carrying a semi-automatic handgun held-up the Jenny Wren Café on Main Street. The suspect is described as 19-29 with a slight build and no taller than 5-foot-9.Police say he had a dark buzz cut, acne, and was wearing a red Ecko hooded sweatshirt.If you have any information on the robbery call Springfield Police.More >>
    Springfield Police need your help to find an armed robber. They say yesterday a white man carrying a semi-automatic handgun held-up the Jenny Wren Café on Main Street. The suspect is described as 19-29 with a slight build and no taller than 5-foot-9.Police say he had a dark buzz cut, acne, and was wearing a red Ecko hooded sweatshirt.If you have any information on the robbery call Springfield Police.More >>
  • Arlington man facing an animal cruelty

    Arlington man facing an animal cruelty

    Friday, April 25 2014 12:03 AM EDT2014-04-25 04:03:45 GMT
    An Arlington man is facing an animal cruelty charge after police say they found a dead dog on this property.It happened at 2760 VT Route 313. Troopers were at Rick Thompson's home investigating a burglary involving a wood burning stove when they discovered the dog. Thompson told police the dog died from kennel cough but a vet later determined the dog had been starved to death. The 47-year-old is due in court next month.More >>
    An Arlington man is facing an animal cruelty charge after police say they found a dead dog on this property.It happened at 2760 VT Route 313. Troopers were at Rick Thompson's home investigating a burglary involving a wood burning stove when they discovered the dog. Thompson told police the dog died from kennel cough but a vet later determined the dog had been starved to death. The 47-year-old is due in court next month.More >>
  • Senator Sanders pushes for better access to primary care

    Senator Sanders pushes for better access to primary care

    Friday, April 25 2014 12:06 AM EDT2014-04-25 04:06:48 GMT
    Senator Bernie Sanders is pushing for better access to primary care for patients in Vermont and across the country.More >>
    Senator Bernie Sanders is pushing for better access to primary care for patients in Vermont and across the country. More >>
  • Burlington School budget one step closer to re-vote

    Burlington School budget one step closer to re-vote

    Friday, April 25 2014 12:09 AM EDT2014-04-25 04:09:20 GMT
    A new Burlington School Budget is one step closer to a re-vote in the Community.The Burlington School board voted in favor of a 67.4 million dollar budget. Dozens of parents and voters turned out Thursday night for public testimony on their thoughts and concerns on the new more expensive budget. A recent audit uncovered a 2.5 million dollar deficit forcing the board to slash about 2.5 million dollars in programming and staff. This new budget is 600-thousand dollars MORE than what was voted do...More >>
    A new Burlington School Budget is one step closer to a re-vote in the Community.The Burlington School board voted in favor of a 67.4 million dollar budget. Dozens of parents and voters turned out Thursday night for public testimony on their thoughts and concerns on the new more expensive budget. A recent audit uncovered a 2.5 million dollar deficit forcing the board to slash about 2.5 million dollars in programming and staff. This new budget is 600-thousand dollars MORE than what was voted do...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 >>
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and WCAX. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.