White River Valley School District Budget Update
On Tuesday, March 6th, residents of both Bethel and Royalton will vote on the first budget for our merged school system, the White River Valley School District. The meeting will be held at 6 p.m. on Town Meeting Day in the Bethel School Gym and voting will take place from the floor.
A copy of the budget is available in Town Reports as well as on royaltonvermont.com and on facebook in the open group, “Welcome To Our Merger - White River Valley School District.”
Highlights from the budget include:
- Funding that maintains roles for all current teaching staff
- Additional teaching positions: middle school math and English, flexible pathways, tech. ed, elementary outdoor education, world languages, and health
- Science and STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) lab renovations for the middle and high school
- Middle and high school robotics
- Instrument upgrades for the music program at both schools
- Additional professional development funds to focus on math, literacy, and behavior support
- Facilities upgrades in both buildings, including: renovating Royalton’s library, soundproofing Royalton’s cafeteria, improving Bethel’s heating system, and renovating Bethel’s greenhouse
- Computer network infrastructure upgrades at both school buildings
Although final tax rates are not set by the State until after budgets are adopted by all Vermont communities, our current projections are that Bethel’s equalized tax rate will be $1.62 per $100 of property and Royalton’s equalized rate will be $1.52 per $100 of property.
Factors that influence each town’s tax rate this year include Act 46 tax incentives, measures of local real estate value (known as the CLA), higher than expected base tax rates set by the State, and lower than expected enrollment. In addition, spending was temporarily increased this year for one-time expenses such as building maintenance in order to take advantage of an Act 46 rule that provides a substantial amount of extra money for our school.
The new school board of the White River Valley School District will present the budget and take questions prior to the vote on March 6th. Please note that the current boards are still required by law to hold annual meetings but no major business will be transacted at these times.
In order to vote on next year’s school budget, registered voters
from Bethel and Royalton must be
present at the White River Valley School District Meeting
being held in the Bethel school gym at 6 p.m. on
Tuesday, March 6th. We hope to see you there!