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South Burlington School District presents budget one more time before voting

Published: Aug. 6, 2020 at 12:20 AM EDT
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SOUTH BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - The South Burlington School District is hoping voters will approve its third budget proposal this year, just weeks before the first day of school.

Voters will decide on Tuesday whether to accept or reject a $785,000 budget increase from last year, totaling $52 million for the year. This comes after voters overwhelmingly struck down a $4 million proposed increase in March. A few months later, voters turned down a nearly $2 million proposed increase.

Board chair Elizabeth Fitzgerald says if voters do not approve the newest budget proposal, the board would have to deliberate and discuss the next steps. She says the district can borrow up to last year’s budget but the board is obligated to work toward a voter-approved budget in order to draw from the general education fund.

James Johnson Jr. of South Burlington says he already mailed in his ballot to approve the budget increase. He says he also voted yes on the other two proposals presented before voters earlier this year, and has consistently voted yes on South Burlington school budgets for the past 50 years.

“It’s an outstanding system. And as I said, I have four children. Between them, they have four university degrees. One has an MBA from NYU Stern. They have four businesses between them. In terms of accountability, these school boards over the last 50 years have been fantastic,” he said.

Harry Christman, who has two kids in the district, is planning on voting yes to make sure their teachers have everything they need when they go back to school.

“Especially now since it’s a time where there’s so much uncertainty for everybody and they’re somewhat putting their neck on the line being in the schools,” he said. “I think it’s important that they get it so that they can do what they need to do.”

Those planning to vote no didn’t want to go on camera but they tell WCAX News they don’t support any tax increase in the middle of an economic crisis.

Board members say they think this new budget proposal is more economically feasible for voters than the previous two.

To vote, you have three options. You can either vote in-person at City Hall until noon on August 10, or you can vote at your polling place on Tuesday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., or you can vote absentee. If you have an absentee ballot, you must drop that off at City Hall by 8 a.m. on Tuesday.

Copyright 2020 WCAX. All rights reserved.

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