Friday January 4, 2013

BRATTLEBORO - The proposed 2014 Brattleboro Union High School budget is up almost 3 percent and most taxpayers in the district will see a slight increase in their assessments if the budget is approved at the annual meeting next month.

The BUHS board on Thursday approved a $25.2 million budget which is up almost $694,000 from the current year.

While the operating budget has jumped by about 2.8 percent, overall spending in the district is only projected to rise by about 1.3 percent when taking into account a big drop in capital improvements from the current year.

The district voters authorized $418,000 last year for a number of capital projects, including $250,000 for new football grandstands.

Tax rates in the district’s five member towns will vary in relation to the common levels of appraisal and when taking into account the projected student counts.

Property owners in Brattleboro and Dummerston will see their residential taxes rise by about 3 cents, while Vernon residents will face an almost 1 cent jump in their tax rate.

Homeowners in Dummerston and Brattleboro with a $200,000 house will see their taxes increase by between $66 and $70, and in Vernon a $200,000 home will see an annual increase of $14.66 for the high school tax.

In Guilford the tax rate is expected to drop by about a penny and a homeowner with a $200,000 house will see taxes drop by about $18.50.


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Putney property owners will see a big drop in their high school tax rate, with the residential tax dropping more than 8 cents. A homeowner with a house assessed at $200,000 will have their taxes go down by about $163.

Enrollment at BUHS is expected to increase slightly next year, growing from 860 to 875, and the proposed $6.75 million budget is up about 2.4 percent.

The projected enrollment at Brattleboro Area Middle School is expected to fall slightly from 250 to 240 students, and the 2014 BAMS budget is about even funded at $2.94 million.

The $2.5 million budget for the Windham Regional Career Center represents a 2 percent increase.

The $10.8 million districtwide budget is up 2.5 percent.

The 2014 budget includes the first year of a three-year teachers’ contract, and that with an estimated 14 percent increase in health insurance costs are two of the big factors adding to the overall increase, BUHS board Chairman Robert Woodworth said.

Along with seeking approval for the budget the BUHS board will ask voters to authorize putting $150,000 into a capital fund to help pay for future infrastructure improvements.

Brattleboro’s "new" high school is almost 10 years old and Woodworth said the board needs to maintain the building and prepare for future upgrades to the structure.

The BUHS annual meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 12 at 7 p.m. in the high school gymnasium.

Howard Weiss-Tisman can be reached at hwtisman@reformer.com or at 802-254-2311 ext. 279.