By Gail Callahan
The Dec. 18 Shelburne School Board may not have attracted a large crowd from the community, but school directors wasted no time listening to needs expressed by administrators at the Shelburne Community School Board.
The meeting served more as a listening activity than a decision-making one. Board members and their respective “Budget Buddies” read through three decision packets set out before them. School directors each have a “Budget Buddy” to better gauge potential financial impacts of the spending plan on the community. These documents contain information that administrators deemed necessary to run the school for the 2014-15 academic year.
According to Bob Mason of the Chittenden South Supervisory Union office, the agenda also included tax and revenue implications if items the administration requested were implemented by the Board, and then approved by Shelburne voters at March Town Meeting.
The Board heard that administrators would like to add a full-time kindergarten teacher, with a salary of $83,000; a .4 FTE school counselor for $16,000; and provide additional funding for the Shadercroft summer program at $4,800. Mason said if those suggestions are implemented into the baseline budget, the proposed spending plan for 2014-15 would increase by 9.43 percent and the tax rate would be impacted .9826 per 100 assessed value. Mason also noted the Board would continue to use surplus money-estimated to be $165,000 from the General Fund not utilized in the past to offset proposed costs.
Mason added the administration’s request to hire an additional kindergarten teacher stems from a concern that enrollment —particularly at the kindergarten level—would rise. The Board inched closer to a final budget figure Wednesday, Jan. 8, during its 7:30 am meeting at the school. On Jan. 21, Shelburne will host a joint Town-School meeting, explaining both the municipal and school budgets. Shelburne voters will vote on the spending plans at March Town Meeting.