*The following statement was read on the floor of the Vermont House by Representatives by Rep. Brian Cina. The Progressive House Caucus was unanimously opposed to the budget amendment.
I have several concerns about the impact of this amendment. I would like to focus on one of these issues at this time. This amendment might harm local school districts and undermine the education of our State’s children by forcing cuts to school budgets that are already struggling to meet the complex needs of students and local communities.
I served as Chair of the Finance Committee of the Burlington School Board as we developed our school budget for FY 18. We engaged our local community in the planning of a school budget that met the vision of our district. We worked to meet the needs of the students and the many state and federal mandates, while minimizing cost to the taxpayers. Over the past few years, we had to make deep cuts and to strategically realign our resources, seeking more efficient ways to use the investment of our taxpayers for the benefit of the children, and in turn, in our collective future. The budget development process involved a lot of compromise and community building on the local level. This budget passed on Town Meeting Day 3905 to 2717, with 59% of the voters approving the budget. I am concerned that this amendment before us today will undermine the local democratic processes that created the already-approved school budgets for FY 18.
The Burlington School Board passed an advisory resolution to the General Assembly on June 13, 2017 on a vote of 8-0-4. May I read this advisory resolution from the Burlington School Board?
(Brian read the Burlington School Board resolution raising concerns about the budget amendment)
In closing, this amendment before us would undermine the work of our local school boards by asking them to make changes to budgets that have already passed.