The HUUSD Board met on Wednesday, December 8.
Most of the Board’s conversation revolved around the budget for the 2022-23 school year. For the first time in several years, the state’s tax commissioner has predicted that equalized education property tax rates are likely to decrease for the coming year. However, policy makers are also predicting that increased property values are likely to cause adjustments to property tax rates (the CLA) that will cause the equalized rates to be higher on a town-by-town basis. At this time, the school Board is planning conservatively that the decrease from the yield may be canceled out by the increase from the CLA. More information from the state will be available mid-December.
Looking at our own budget on Wednesday, Finance Director Michelle Baker presented a first draft of costs for a “level service budget” – that is, if next year the district provides the same programming as it does this year. With a level service budget, total expenses are expected to increase by about 3.7%. Future meetings will provide information about expected revenues for next year, pupil counts and property tax adjustments, which will help the Board to better understand how the plans would affect local property taxes.
The Board discussed the district’s maintenance reserve fund and how to use that fund to fast track a number of repairs at Harwood. Facilities Director Ray Daigle presented the district’s three-year maintenance plan and included suggestions for which projects to prioritize at the high school.
** This Town-Meeting day, there will be open school board seats in the towns of Duxbury, Fayston, Waitsfield, Warren and Waterbury . This is a great opportunity for community members to get involved in local governance and to continue the important work of short- and long-term planning for our schools and community. Might you consider running? Or encourage a community member you respect to do so? Petitions to be on the ballot must be submitted to town clerks by the end of January. Most towns require just 15 or so signatures (Waterbury is a bit more). We have put together answers to frequently asked questions about being on the Board here: (https://tinyurl.com/7dta9jxd). **
The Board will have its next regular meeting on Wednesday, December 15, at 6PM. This will be a hybrid meeting that can be attended in-person or remotely via Zoom (https://us02web.zoom.us/j/386460007), or viewed on youtube (https://tinyurl.com/4mexf77s).
As always, the Board welcomes feedback from our community. One of the easiest ways to share your thoughts is to send an email to [email protected], which will go to every Board member. There is also time at every Board meeting for public comment. Alternately, reach out to one of your neighbors who is on the school board and share your thoughts in a personal email or phone call (see a list of Board members and contact information at https://tinyurl.com/523wtrnj).