MONTPELIER, Vt. - Passing a school budget on the first try seems to be a bit of a gamble in Vermont.
“I will say it was a surprise it didn't pass,” said Dr. Brian Ricca, Montpelier Superintendent of Schools.
Ricca says on Town Meeting Day the first budget proposal of more than $17.3 million dollars failed. But the second proposal passed after more than 158 thousand dollars was trimmed from the budget.
“The cost of education has been rising,” said Ricca.
When the school budget didn't pass the school board and the superintendent decided to create committee of community members. That committee will look over the school's finances and come up with suggestions on how to trim the budget without hurting student outcomes.
“Part of that means showing the public what we are using their funds for and giving access to how the money is spent,” said Ricca.
Jill Remick is one of ten people serving on the new Program and Finance committee. She says so far they've been sifting through the school's finances - page by page - to get a better understanding of how the money is spent.
“Once you dig into the details of the numbers and the decisions, it’s not like there is some magic bullet out there that's going to solve the problem,” said Remick.
Remick says the committee has also looked at past budgets that have passed the first time around.
“We've spent a lot of time looking at class size numbers, courses offered at the school, the student - teacher ratio, so how many kids per adult or per teacher in the school. so we are learning a lot,” said Remick.
And in the end the committee will present its findings and recommendations to the school board before it starts working on the budget for next year in hopes the first budget that's proposed will pass.
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