Excerpted from an article in the Bennington Banner.
Superintendent Judy Pullinen said she would like to have a discussion with board members about budget drivers at their Oct. 14 meeting. "We've already found out that the health insurance is projected to go up 7.9 percent," she said, "which is the biggest increase we've had in years, at least five."
Under this year's legislation, Act 46, BVSU will be prohibited from increasing its budget by more than $85,000 from last year. Tax rates in districts that exceed the cap, which is variable based on the district in question, could see their tax rates double.
Board Chair K. John Smith was concerned that that increase, as well as a 3 percent negotiated raise for teachers, a 2.75 percent raise for support staff, and the implementation of pre-K for three-year-olds, will push the BVSU well over that limit. Doing the math on paper, Smith estimated that those increases alone would equate to a budget increase of over $170,000, which business manager Eleanor Frechette estimated would be closer to $200,000.
"You're at $170-200 thousand, and you've got an $85,000 cap, so you've already got to cut $150,000 from the budget," said Smith.