CVU Board faced with budget Challenges

Nov. 24, 2010

By Tim Simard
Observer staff

The Champlain Valley Union High School Board received its first look at a proposed 2011-2012 budget last week. The school’s baseline budget, which is the cost of current services if they’re carried into the following year, would see a 1.04 percent increase over the current budget. Next school year’s budget would total $21.57 million, according to Chittenden South Supervisory Union Chief Operations Officer Bob Mason.

While the increase is low, the CVU Board is facing a bigger task in meeting the Vermont Legislature’s Challenges for Change, which aims to cut school spending across Vermont. The state is strongly urging schools to cut 2 percent from net spending, which would require CVU to make large reductions in its budget. School Board Chairwoman Jeanne Jensen said, in light of the baseline increase, CVU might need to eliminate more than $700,000 from next year’s budget to meet the challenge.

Jensen said the board will look at ways to make cuts, but remained unsure if it would approve the amount of budget reductions required to meet the Challenges for Change.

“Getting anywhere close to it would have to take away a lot of opportunity for kids,” Jensen said. “I don’t know if we’re ready to dismantle our programs.”

The board asked Principal Sean McMannon to devise several different budget options based on possible cuts. Jensen said the board will likely look at McMannon’s proposals at its Dec. 13 meeting. The board must tell the Department of Education by Dec. 15 if it plans to meet the Challenges for Change.

The CVU School Board will continue budget talks at 6 p.m. on Nov. 29 at the high school.