An important meeting to discuss the effects of Education Bill H.361 on our local schools and property tax rates will take place June 16, 2015 at 6:00pm at the Woodbury Elementary school, 63 Valley Lake Road, Woodbury, VT. Anyone who is interested in local education possibilities and the effect on their property taxes should attend. We urge members to attend if they can – comments may be left by clicking “Leave a reply” at the top of this article.
Education bill H.361 is designed to affect the structure and financing of local schools throughout the state, and is a response to challenges with school property taxes and declining student numbers. It calls on the state’s 277 districts to find ways to merge into larger “education systems” of at least 900 pupils, and the bill extends tax incentives to districts as well as grants to districts which move quickly. The law gives districts a few years to voluntarily move into larger systems, and empowers the State Board of Education in 2019 to restructure districts it believes need to make changes and have not. Tax incentives are most generous for districts that move quickly.
It also phases out the small schools grant program and the hold harmless formula that were put in place to protect tax rate spikes in communities seeing rapid student decline when the dropoff of students in Vermont first started to become a problem. Some of our local schools benefit from these programs.
For more information see the following articles