PCB Testing (H.873) - March 26, 2024

H.873 reached the House floor on Tuesday, with Representative Conlon of Cornwall speaking on behalf of the Committee on Education. The bill addresses funding challenges for the state’s program for the remediation of the presence of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in schools. This has been a major cost-driver for many districts.

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Cooperative Educational Services (H.630) - March 26, 2024

H.630 reached the House floor on Tuesday. Representative Beck of St. Johnsbury offered an amendment on behalf of the Committee on Ways and Means. They recommended passing the bill along with an amendment that appropriated $70k for the Agency of Education to administer a grant program to support the formation of Boards of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES).

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Flexible Pathways - March 26, 2024

The Senate Education Committee held a presentation on Tuesday afternoon on the Flexible Pathways Initiative, created by Act 77 of 2013, which encourages and supports the creativity of school districts as they develop and expand high-quality educational experiences that are an integral part of secondary education in the evolving 21st century classroom. 

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VOTE: Government Accountability (H.702) - March 26, 2024

Chairman McCarthy opened the House Government Operations Committee meeting on Tuesday morning by saying he was particularly busy visiting with the House Appropriations Committee regarding the grants bill, H.140. He shared with the Committee that he would like to offer an amendment to H.702 to insert the working Group concept from the previous bill into this one.

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LETTER: This Education Crisis is Nothing New

Chair Conlon and members of the House Education Committee,

The education finance crisis before you today is the gravest in decades and eerily similar to the crisis we faced a decade ago. You have difficult choices ahead of you around overhauling the entire education finance system or making targeted reforms to inject more transparency and accountability into the incentive structure.

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VOTE: Tax Changes (H.546) - March 22, 2024

The annual housekeeping bill for the Ways and Means Committee, H.546, reached the House floor on Friday. Chairwoman Kornheiser presented the bill to the House. She described the bill as “revenue neutral.”

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Government Accountability (H.702) - March 22, 2024

Representative Boyden presented H.702 on the House floor on Friday. She told members of the House that, as policy makers, they need to routinely evaluate how well our system is working and ensure that Vermonters are receiving the results they expect and deserve. H.702 is the first step in strengthening this type of government accountability.

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School Budgets - March 21, 2024

Brooke Olsen-Farrell (Superintendent, Slate Valley Supervisory Union) shared that their budget failed by a 464-vote margin. Voters in her district seem to “pride themselves on keeping education spending low.” Despite being among the lowest spending in the state and being “advantaged” by Act 127.

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10% for Vermont Program - March 21, 2024

Treasurer Mike Pieciak spoke to the Senate Economic Development Committee on Thursday morning about “10% for Vermont,” a local investment program.

The program authorizes the Treasurer to invest up to 10% of the State’s average daily cash balance for economic development in Vermont.  As noted in an announcement from the Office of the State Treasurer “the State’s average daily cash balance has grown substantially in recent years due to increased state revenues allowing the program’s lending capacity to expand from $39M to $100M and then expanded to $115M.  In total, when combined with funds that were not committed from the original program, there is now $85M available to support local economic development. 

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Career and Technical Education - March 21, 2024

On Thursday, Gus Seelig (Executive Director, Vermont Housing and Conservation Board) talked to the House Commerce Committee about his annual report and the pictures and write-ups of all the projects they have been involved in throughout the State. But today they are focusing on housing and workforce development. Seelig mentioned that the Chair had asked him to work with the Career Technical Centers to focus on housing and workforce development in the construction/developer careers. He noted that he and Will Belongia (Executive Director, Vermont Community Loan Fund) had talked to CTE Directors throughout the state to find out what is needed. They said they need more students interested in the construction/housing field.

 

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