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After School Budget Failure, Burlington Plans What's Next

Across Vermont, many school districts are having to take another look at their proposed budgets.
BURLINGTON, Vt. - Across Vermont, many school districts are having to take another look at their proposed budgets.
   
That's because people in dozens of towns shot down the budget on Town Meeting Day.

On Tuesday in Burlington, talk began on what to do next.

From parents after school Tuesday there was concern about what's next for Burlington schools.

"When we are talking about children we have to make sure we give them the best," says Cleophace Mukeba, a Burlington parent.
 
This comes after Burlington voters rejected a proposed nearly $67-million 2015 school budget. That would have meant about a 10-percent hike in taxes.

"The voters who are really supportive of the schools said we really can't afford it. It's time to stop, prune, prioritize," says Jeanne Collins, Burlington School District superintendent.
 
On Tuesday, Collins presented options to board members. They can default to the last budget, which would mean finding $1.5-million to cut.
The other choice, coming up with a new budget for voters which would also include cuts.

Burlington is not alone trying to figure out now what to do with its budget. That's because on Town Meeting Day, Vermonters rejected the largest number of school budgets since 2003.
 
Last week in Vermont, 35 budgets failed and 217 passed.
 
In Burlington, there are big questions about what to keep and what needs to go.
 
"From transportation, to class size, to athletics, to administration, to support, can we keep doing this? Are these the right programs to be doing?" says Collins.

Parents we talked to say they are worried about the impact on students.

"If they are willing to make a couple cuts which is unfortunate because my kid just started school. So, it's like, I'm all for it. I will vote for a budget any time. But I know, it's just tough," says David Morency, a Burlington parent.

The board has just two months to come up with a new plan, if it wants another election.
   
But some board members are concerned the vote could fail again, costing the district more money.


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