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Town Meeting Preview: Oxbow Unified Union School District

Published: 4/12/2021 10:03:50 PM
Modified: 4/12/2021 10:03:48 PM

Hot topic: The Oxbow Unified Union School District struggled to pass a budget for the current school year, finally succeeding on the fourth try, in mid-January, only three months ago. Voters in Newbury, Vt., also rejected an attempt to withdraw the town from the district, in which it is partnered with Bradford. Have the hot topics simmered down?

Budget: The proposed budget of nearly $17.2 million, which would fund the operations of Bradford Elementary School, Newbury Elementary School, Oxbow High School and River Bend Career and Technical Center, as well as preschool programs and the district's share of the Orange East Supervisory Union budget, is about $392,000 higher than the current year’s.

But many of the budget’s line items are down, while the line item for instruction is up by $827,000. That includes higher health insurance costs for teachers, as well as pay increases, said School Board Chair Danielle Corti. But it also includes new teaching positions, both to beef up programs and to keep pace with an expected enrollment increase of 30 students at Oxbow High School.

The budget adds teaching hours for music instruction at Newbury Elementary, technology at Bradford Elementary, English and social studies teachers at Oxbow and supplies for tech camp and culinary classes at River Bend. The Bradford tax rate is expected to rise by about 0.5%, while the Newbury rate is expected to decline by about the same percentage. That means Bradford’s current rate would increase by less than a penny, and Newbury’s would decrease by less than a penny per $100 of valuation.

Contested races: Carol Cottrell is running unopposed for re-election to the Oxbow Unified district’s board from Newbury. And while no one filed to run for the Bradford seat being vacated by Melissa Gordon, there are two write-in campaigns afoot. Meagan Ballou and Zachary Lang have both expressed interest, Corti said.

When and where: All business will be conducted by Australian ballot on Tuesday, April 13. Polls will be open 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. in the Bradford Academy Auditorium and the Newbury Town Office.

—Alex Hanson

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