Rivendell first school district to take post-shutdown budget vote

ORFORD, N.H. (WCAX) A school budget vote is planned for Tuesday night in the Upper Valley, one of more than a dozen Vermont districts still without a budget for next year.

The voting for the Rivendell School District, which encompasses towns in Vermont and New Hampshire, is taking place at the Rivendell Academy in Orford, where polls are open for drive-thru voting until 7 p.m. The district's original town meeting style vote back in March was cancelled due to the pandemic.

Rivendell is among 19 districts with no budget and the first to hold a vote post-shutdown. It comes during a grim economic outlook the Vermont Legislature is currently working to address.

"I've heard proposals where you could start the year borrowing up to 100% of your previous years budget. I've heard that they are trying to build in a buffer of 4%, which is kind of the average across the state. Then, I have also heard that they might propose having every district revote again and do that quarterly based on where we are financially as a state," said Barrett Williams, Rivendell's superintendent.

In the Rivendell District, around 500 absentee ballots have already been sent back in. That's twice the number of people who usually turn out for the vote in March. Drive-thru voting continues until 7 p.m. Tuesday.