Hartland voters approve $11 million school budget

By CHRISTINA DOLAN

Valley News Staff Writer

Published: 06-12-2024 6:00 PM

HARTLAND — In a third round of balloting on Tuesday, residents approved an $11 million school budget, 630-438. 

This marks the second time this year Hartland voters have approved a school budget, albeit this time by a much larger margin.

The budget initially passed by a margin of nine votes on April 2, with 631 residents voting.

Later that month, two Hartland residents, both opposed to the budget and concerned about low voter turnout, successfully petitioned for a revote. The revote, which was held on May 28, resulted in the budget’s 551-537 failure.

Following the May vote, scrambling to present a budget that would be palatable to voters before the start of the new fiscal year on July 1, the School Board made $90,539 in cuts by eliminating a middle school English and Language Arts teacher. That reduction came on top of the more than half million dollars in cuts that the board made to the budget in February. 

“The Board is thankful to our community for supporting the revised budget,” School Board Chairperson Nicole Buck said Wednesday. 

“I saw joy in our teaching staff this morning knowing the vote passed,” she said.

The new budget, which will take effect on July 1, will result in a tax rate of $2.30 per $100 of property value, a substantial increase from this year’s rate of $1.82, according to Windsor Southeast Supervisory Union Superintendent Christine Bourne. For a house assessed at $250,000, the new rate would mean a tax bill of $5,750, a reduction of $50 from the tax rate for the budget voters rejected in May.  

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If July 1 had arrived without an approved budget, the district would have been forced to borrow money from the state — at an interest rate of about 6.45% — in order to open its doors. It would only be eligible to borrow up to 87% of the current year’s budget, which would have significantly reduced services. 

 Christina Dolan can be reached at cdolan@vnews.com or 603-727-3208.