TOWNSHEND — The School Board members and educational leaders from Leland and Gray Union High School and the Windham Central Supervisory Union will present the proposed 2016-17 budget at two public meetings.
The Budget Informational Meeting takes place on Tuesday, Jan. 26. Leland and Gray's Annual Meeting takes place one week later on Tuesday, Feb. 2. Both meetings begin at 7:30 p.m. The Leland and Gray community budget vote is held the following day, on Wednesday, Feb. 3, in the towns of Brookline, Jamaica, Newfane, Townshend, and Windham.
Widely reported across Vermont are the adverse effects of Act 46 on school budgets exceeding the recommended spending thresholds. While the Vermont Legislature debates whether and how to amend the Act, school officials said Leland and Gray has adopted a fiscally-responsible budget that reflects a commitment to excellence. The majority of Vermont schools struggle with declining enrollment, yet L&G has found ways to right-size the budget based on effective educational practices for a slightly smaller student population. It is estimated that the proposed budget will result in education spending of $16,384 per equalized pupil in 2016-17. This projected spending is 0.2 percent lower than spending for in 2015-16.
The decreases and increases in the proposed school budget arose from a careful analysis of student enrollment projections, Vermont's Education Quality Standards, and Leland and Gray's legacy of international education and preparedness for the 21st century global economy. Integrating literacy and interactive technology into science, mathematics, the arts, English and foreign languages, and the social studies remains a top priority, and physical education and health remain embedded requirements for lifelong productivity and wellness.
Reductions in personnel will be offset in several ways. One, a number of faculty members will earn Vermont certification to teach another subject area. Two, grant funding and increased pre-K-to-12 alignment will expand expertise beyond L&G into other Windham Central schools. Three, study halls will be primarily replaced with more course options and academic interventions.
Program increases include music education, building security, special education services, health insurance premiums, and Journey East programs.
The 2016-17 Budget Supplement has been mailed to every home in the five union towns. Copies of the 2016 Annual Report can be picked up at the following locations: NewBrook Elementary School, People's Bank, town clerk offices and elementary schools in Newfane, Brookline, (NewBrook), Jamaica, Townshend, and Windham, Harmonyville Store, Riverbend Store, Williamsville Restaurant, West Townshend Store, and the Dam Diner.
Leland and Gray educators are grateful to the supporters in our local community. From the Leland and Gray Educational Foundation and Alumni Association to the hundreds of fans attending athletic and the arts events, our community's support distinguishes Leland and Gray as an extraordinary place to learn.