03.31.21 EWSD Budget Facts

EWSD Budget Facts

 

Highlights:

  • $81,732,048 - Net Ed Spending down (0.03%)
    1. Equalized pupils down (0.77%)
    2. Net Ed Spending/Equalized Pupil up 0.74%
    3. Homestead Tax Rates in all three communities were down, but property values were up so the impact of the Common Level of Appraisal (CLA) on the projected tax rates resulted in the following increases*:
      1. Westford up 0.29%*
      2. Essex and Essex Junction up 1.71%*
    4. For those who pay their taxes based on income, the rate is projected to increase from 2.42% to 2.46% of household income*.

* final tax impact will be based on the final yields as approved by the legislature and signed by the governor. 

 

This budget is the result of several months of administrative planning, school board meetings, deliberations, and student data review, and makes strategic investments in building our capacity to meet the needs of all of our students.

 

  • Vermont Education Finance and funding formulas are complicated, but it is important to understand that prior year fund balances, by state law, are carried forward as revenue to offset expenses in a future year, unless otherwise authorized by the voters. The FY’22 Budget has a $4,500,000 REVENUE from a prior year (largely due to COVID-19 and moving to fully remote in March 2020), it is not an expenditure. The prior year surplus REDUCES the amount taxpayers are required to pay by $4.5M in the FY22 Budget. 
  • COVID related:
    • In-person Instruction: K-5 students had been attending school 5 days from October 5th through December. In January, K-5 went to remote Wednesdays to allow for adequate staff preparation and staffing. It is expected that K-5 students may be able to return to 5 days in-person instruction after the April break, with greater opportunity for outdoor options. EWSD K-5 students have had more days of in-person learning than most other districts in the state, including our Chittenden County neighboring districts. Grades 6-12 have been on a hybrid schedule due to the class and building sizes, and the state guidance for spacing. We continue to analyze the situation. 
      • At EHS and CTE, we have 1,900 people in the building on a normal day of in-person instruction. This presents additional logistical and contact tracing challenges, but creative thinking and planning is at the heart of the work being done around these issues.
      • The COVID positive rate is high in our community right now.  This is a challenge as we plan for more students in our buildings.
    • EWSD READS is designed to extend learning and assist with recovery within and in addition to classroom instruction. There will be no reduction in the school day for any students to accommodate this extended learning. There will continue to be an early release day (one hour early for all buildings) each week (currently Wednesdays) to support Professional Learning Communities which allows for sharing of data and best practice to improve outcomes for all learners. 
    • Substitutes: To strategically and safely cover anticipated absences due to COVID or quarantine/contact tracing, the district has hired permanent substitutes for this academic year, as was discussed in several board meetings. These positions were for this school year (FY21). It is hoped there will be less of a need for these positions in FY22. Many of these costs will be eligible for COVID funding reimbursement. 

 

  • Standardized Testing: In compliance with federal requirements, EWSD students grade 3-8 and 9 will be taking the standardized tests this spring (SBACs). Regular local formative and summative assessments take place throughout the school year and inform instruction in the classroom and planning at the district level, as has been discussed at several board meetings throughout the year. Student outcome data is reviewed throughout the year at board meetings to inform decision making. "Data and Its Impact on Planning and Budgeting" was discussed with the board at our January 5, 2021 meeting. Here is the direct link.