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Town Meeting preview: Rivendell funding proposal would restore after-school, summer programs

Published: 3/8/2021 9:22:55 PM
Modified: 3/8/2021 9:38:01 PM
Rivendell Interstate School District Funding proposal would restoreafter-school, summer programs

Hot topic: The Rivendell Interstate School District — which covers the communities of Orford, Fairlee, West Fairlee and Vershire — is proposing a $12.6 million budget for the 2022 fiscal year, an increase of almost $500,000 over the district’s current spending plan.

The budget includes several staffing reductions, but restores funding for the district’s after-school and summer programs, which were cut last year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Officials say that health insurance also continues to be the biggest driver of budget increases. Premiums went up 9.8% this year for a total of 68% over the past 5 years.

Under the budget proposal, Vershire could see its homestead tax rate increase by 4.9%, or by about $250 on a property valued at $250,000. Fairlee would see its tax rate increase by 3.3% and West Fairlee’s would go up by almost 1%.

However, school officials say that few residents pay the full tax rate because of Vermont’s income sensitivity program.

In Orford, the school district’s portion of the tax rate would increase by 2.4%, or roughly $112 in new taxes on a home valued at $250,000.

Noteworthy articles: Voters will be asked to appropriate $48,000 for the school district’s maintenance reserve fund and $20,000 for future technology upgrades in separate articles.

Contested races: There are no contested races for School Board. Sarah Molesworth is running unopposed for a three-year term representing West Fairlee, Nate Thames is running for a Vershire seat, Clement Powers is running to represent Fairlee and Vanessa DeSimone is running for an Orford seat.

Katherine Blanchard, an Orford resident, also is running for another term for an at-large seat that represents all four communities.

When and where: Rivendell’s annual floor meeting won’t be held in-person this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Absentee ballots were mailed to all registered voters in the district. Ballots must be received by a voter’s town office by 3 p.m. on March 16.

For those wishing to vote in-person, polls will be open from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Monday, March 16 at Rivendell Academy.

A virtual public information session on the proposed budget is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 9. Login information can be found at or by calling 603-353-2170 x2136.

— Tim Camerato

Valley News

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