School Board To Consider Three Budget Options
Decision Expected At January 25 Meeting
The Norwich School Board will consider three budget options at its meeting on January 25 and select one to send to voters for Town Meeting in March.
The first option is the original budget proposal, with Marion Cross School spending at $5,676,234 and a homestead tax rate of $1.9024. The tax rate will increase by 9 cents, an increase that is higher than any School Board member can recall.
The other two options add about $100,000 to the budget to essentially restore a fifth grade teacher to the program. Option two adds the money to the overall budget. The third option is for a separate warrant that asks voters to specifically approve the added expenditure. Either option increases the homestead tax rate by nearly 2 cents to $1.9198. However, in the infinite wisdom of Montpelier, the nonresidential tax rate will not change. See School Homestead Tax Rate: How can this be fair?
Estimated Tax Rate Calculation Adding $100,000 To MCS Budget
The School Board faces competing pressures. Two parents of fifth graders to be, along with several teachers, spoke passionately in favor of adding the third classroom teacher to reduce class size from 23 to 15. The parents stated the added tax burden is small. However the Board is mindful that taxes last year were too high for some residents. This year will see a 9 cent increase, even though the budget is down overall. That increase is because the State education fund is in crisis. This year's big jump in tax rate is likely to be repeated again and again.
In the course of public comment, perhaps speaking for many taxpayers without kids in school, one resident thanked the Board for its hard work. But, "I am not saying you have not tried to contain the budget. What I am saying is that you need to … try harder."