The HUUSD Board met remotely via Zoom on December 16. The majority of the meeting was devoted to continued discussion and development of the budget for the 2021-2022 Fiscal Year (FY22).
Director of Finance and Operations, Michelle Baker, presented an update on proposed expenditures as well as administrative recommendations for the budget. These included an additional classroom teacher at Fayston Elementary and a special educator at Waitsfield Elementary. This second draft budget also included funds for a new District human resources professional, legal services for negotiations, and a Superintendent search. Based on updated information from the state, the new recommendation was to use $600,000 in local surplus to offset part of the cost increase of the FY22 budget, devote $1 million to maintenance reserve, and to ask our voters to set aside the remaining $615,456 for future needs. Taken together these figures would result in a 2.67% increase in HUUSD education spending.
Although the state is still in the process of determining equalized pupils, a figure needed to calculate our final tax rate, Director Baker was able to project a rough estimate of $1.74 for an equalized tax rate for FY22. This takes into account a 2-cent reduction due to incentives received for our Act 46 accelerated merger, which sunset after this year. If accurate, this tax rate would represent an 11 cent increase in the equalized rate from FY21.
After further discussion, the Board approved additional line item increases to restore professional development and add funds for staff anti-racism training. At its next meeting on January 13, the Board will consider a third budget draft, which includes these additional expenses, and which will be fully modeled to show the tax rate. The Board also requested complete modeling of the original level service draft budget, which it had considered on December 9, as a point of comparison to aid in better understanding the implications of the additional expenditures. At the time of our next meeting, we hope to have state confirmation of our District’s equalized pupils so as to provide a true equalized tax rate. We will also need the CLA (Common Level of Appraisal) for each of our six towns before projecting local tax rates.
The Board also agreed to continue discussion on board reconfiguration with the possible outcome of reducing board size. The Board ran short of time to discuss its goals on anti-racism and agreed to move this item to its next agenda in order to devote proper time and better focus to the topic.
Fiscal Year 2021-2022 budget development documents can be found on the business office page of the district website (https://huusd.org/business-office) under the “FY22 Budget Development” drop down menu.
The next regular board meeting will be January 13, at 6:00 pm. Remote meeting requirements make it easy to participate in or to view HUUSD Board meetings.
-- To participate live through Zoom, click on this link at the meeting’s start time: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/386460007#success
-- To watch live or after-the-fact on YouTube: tinyurl.com/huwebapp-youtube-live
-- To view on Mad River Television: www.mrvtv.com
You can email the Board your thoughts at: [email protected]
Thank you for your continued engagement,
The HUUSD Board