Possible Increased Oversight of Burlington School Finances

Published 04/28 2014 10:33PM

Updated 04/28 2014 10:51PM

BURLINGTON, Vt. - Burlington City Councilors say they want to explore if the city should have more oversight of the Burlington School District.

Councilors passed a resolution to explore a Charter Change that would require the council to approve the school budget before it is sent to voters. The measure would also urge the school district to accept more help from the city in the management of money.

"I've heard from a lot of constituents, citizens across Burlington, that are concerned what's happened with the school board," says Kurt Wright, R-Burlington City Councilor.

The district has faced deficits, big property tax increases, and issues with the IRS.

"There's a general feeling that there's real problems. The city council clearly can not be involved in trying to micro-manage the school budget, the school district. I do think they can use some help," says Wright.

Burlington School Board Chair Patrick Halladay says the district is open to working with the city.

While some called for the resignation of school leadership, Halladay says he would not comment if that might be necessary.

"There are additional steps we'll need to take in order to make sure that we regain the trust of the community," says Halladay.

On Monday, members of the school district also explained the new, proposed 2015 school budget. It would be 67.4-million dollars and includes millions of dollars in cuts and fixes one deficit.

While the budget is more than last time, it would actually mean less of a tax increase. Board members says this budget is better because there's a lot more confidence the numbers are right.

The charter change now begins a long road before it actually could pass and go into effect.

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