Dear Berlin Elementary School Community Members and Voters,
The Berlin Elementary School Budget was defeated on Town Meeting Day by a vote of 175 in favor to 210 opposed. There are a number of contributing factors that may have resulted in the “No” vote and the Berlin Elementary School Board is reaching out to our community to gather information before the revote scheduled for May 2.
In an effort to produce a second round budget our community can support, we are looking for YOUR input. Why do you think the budget as proposed on Town Meeting Day failed and what will it take to pass the school budget?
Below is a list of comments that we have already received from community members. We encourage you to review this list and contact us with any other possible reasons. Contact information is at the end of this letter.
Why do you think voters voted “No”?
• The equalized pupil spending percentage increased by 14% from $15,890 to $18,121 per equalized pupil
• The non-bond portion of the budget increased by 3.76%
• The ballot language made it sound like the budget went up 14%
• Governor Scott urged towns to vote “No” on non-level funded budgets
• I wanted lower taxes, I can’t afford my taxes
• People didn’t understand that the school renovation bond approved in November was included in the school budget number which accounted for over 9% of the 14% per equalized pupil increase
• Inadequate explanation and communication about the budget and the vote by the school board
• Feels like the Supervisory Union takes too much money away from Berlin Elementary.
• Didn’t understand the budget, many people didn’t vote.
• Some folks always vote “NO”
What would help you and other voters vote “Yes” on the school budget?
• Decrease the % per equalized pupil increase.
• Decrease the total budget spending.
• Some voters won’t vote “Yes”
• Decrease Supervisory Union Office Budget
• New, more experienced School Board Chair
• Governor Scott supporting the budget
• Explain the equalized pupil state funding formula better so voters can understand what it means
• I understood the small budget increase and would vote yes on the budget without the board approving any changes
Creating a school budget is a complicated process with confusing, but important details. We invite you to attend our upcoming public forums and school board meetings to learn more about the budget process and share your feedback with the school board and administration.
BERLIN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL BUDGET PUBLIC FORUM SCHEDULE
Monday, March 20, 2017 6:15 PM: Berlin Elementary School Library
Wednesday, March 29, 2017 6:30 PM: U-32 High School Cafeteria
Monday, April 10, 2017 6:15 PM: Berlin Elementary School Library
Monday, May 1, 2017 6:00 PM: Berlin Elementary School
There may be an additional meeting in April. Date, time and location to be determined.
After gathering input, we will put the Berlin Elementary School budget before the voters again on Tuesday, May 2, 2017 at the Berlin Town Office from 8:00 AM – 7:00 PM.
Please take a moment to contact us with your opinions on why voters chose “No” and what changes would allow voters to vote “Yes” within a revised budget. Please include your contact information if you would like a response from a school board member.
E-mail comments and suggestions to BESboard@U32.org
Mail your comments to Berlin School Board in care of Berlin Elementary School, 372 Paine Turnpike North, Berlin, VT 05602.
Suggestion/comment boxes have been placed in the lobby of the Berlin Town Office and Berlin Elementary School.
Speak to any school board member and he/she will present your feedback to the group.
Thank you for your time and input. We hope to see you at the upcoming public forums and at the polls on May 2.
Berlin Elementary School Board Chair