Letter: Hanover and Norwich School Budgets

To the Editor:

I want to highlight some of the program and related budgetary proposals for Hanover and Norwich school district meetings this year. Our hope is to provide as much relevant information as possible and identify sources where more information can be found.

We will be providing copies of the Hanover school annual report at Howe Library, town hall, the SAU office and at the deliberative sessions for Hanover and Dresden. If you would still like to receive your own copy, please contact the SAU and we will be happy to send one out.

This year’s budget proposals in all of our districts show either small decreases or slight increases. The resulting tax rate in Hanover is roughly a 1 percent increase, or 12 cents per $1,000 of property valuation. In Norwich, we are looking at an increase of 1.2 percent, or 2 cents per $100 of valuation. However, recent formula recalculations by Vermont indicate that the tax rate may be going down, but no definitive numbers have been released.

We are also pleased to announce settlement agreements with three of our collective bargaining units, including the Hanover Education Association, which represents the professional educators in Hanover and Dresden who provide so much to foster academic excellence. This agreement comes on the heels of two years without a contract. We believe it reflects economic conditions, but at the same time recognizes the value of our teachers. Highlights of the agreements are in the budget brochure and on the SAU website. For additional information, contact School Board members or my office (643-6050 or frank.bass@sau70.org).

After taking a hard look at program support, we have been able to decrease reliance on educational assistants, reduce teaching loads from full-time equivalency, increase assistive technology applications in special education and, on a wider scale, consider the sharing of program services between districts. We have also added to our technology support at Richmond Middle School and Hanover High as we move toward a more broad-based, integrated approach to classroom instruction.

Frank Bass

Superintendent, SAU 70