The HUUSD Board met remotely on Wednesday, December 9th in a meeting focused primarily on the FY22 school district budget. The Vermont Tax Commissioner’s letter, which was published December 1, predicts a 9% increase in education property tax bills (about 10 cents, or $200 on a $200,000 house) even before any cost of living adjustments or cost increases are added for consideration. This statewide cost increase is driven primarily by the effects of COVID on the economy and a mandated increase in the Education Fund’s contribution to the teacher retirement system.
In terms of local education costs, Director of Finance Michelle Baker, presented the first look at a level service budget (that is, what it would cost with no change in current programming or school configuration), which indicated a 3.6% increase in expenditures -- a little below the tax commissioner’s projection of a 3.75% statewide average. Local cost growth is driven primarily by increased health care costs and contractual salary increases for employees. In the coming weeks, the Board will hear more about projected revenues for next year, projected student numbers, and other components of the state’s school funding formula.
In some good news, the district has a $2.2 million fund balance from last year. This surplus is primarily due to savings that occurred when in-person learning had came to a halt in March due to COVID. There are several options for how to use this fund balance including asking voters to 1) transfer it to the maintenance reserve fund; 2) save it for future use (a “rainy day fund”); or 3) to apply it to the FY22 budget. The Board may also approve a combination of these options.
The Board will continue working towards finalizing a FY22 budget at its Dec 16 and Jan 13 meetings. Learn more by clicking on the “FY22 Budget Development” section on the right side of this page: https://huusd.org/business-office. Members of the public are encouraged to share their thoughts during public comment at meetings or to email the Board at [email protected].
In addition to budget discussions, the Board:
1. heard from the Superintendent on new COVID screening procedures and current district COVID numbers;
2. unanimously approved the conversion of 5 paid work days to 5 paid vacation days for all HUUSD employees in recognition of and thanks for the significant additional work and efforts caused by COVID;
3. unanimously authorized the high school facilities committee to meet with architects from TruexCullins to review the latest design plans for the Harwood campus; and
4. approved a committee to interview applicants for the District Clerk position.
The next regular Board meeting will be December 16th, at 6:00PM. Remote meeting requirements have made it easier than ever to participate in or view School Board meetings, and we hope you will consider joining us. You can also email the board with your thoughts at [email protected]
-- To participate live through Zoom, simply click on this link at the meeting’s start time: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/386460007#success
-- To view either live or after-the-fact on YouTube, use this link: tinyurl.com/huwebapp-youtube-live
-- To view on Mad River Television, use this link: www.mrvtv.com
Thank you for continued support,
The HUUSD Board