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“ Think Twice ”: The Origin & Implications of Vermont’s Act 82

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“ Think Twice ”: The Origin & Implications of Vermont’s Act 82. Prepared for the September 2007 Regional Meetings. Education Legislation Passed Since 1997. 1997: Equal Education Opportunity Act (Act 60); School Bus Standards; Family Leave Act

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“Think Twice”:

The Origin & Implications of Vermont’s Act 82

Prepared for the September 2007 Regional Meetings

education legislation passed since 1997
Education Legislation Passed Since 1997
  • 1997: Equal Education Opportunity Act (Act 60); School Bus Standards; Family Leave Act
  • 1998: Gifted & Talented; Integration of Home Study Students; Probationary Teachers; Tech Ed Funding System Change; Criminal Record Checks; Education, Taxation & Financing Act
  • 1999: Comprehensive High School Funding; Capital Construction Act
education legislation passed since 19971
Education Legislation Passed Since 1997
  • 2000: Hazing & Harassment; High School Choice; Criminal Record Checks II; Safe Schools; DOE Procedures Act; Act 117; Toxic Materials in Schools Act
  • 2001: Tech Center Finance; Union School Board Representation; American Sign Language
  • 2002: Use of Federal Funds; Tax Amendments; Medicaid; Capital Construction Funding Changes; Pledge of Allegiance; WWII Vet Diplomas
there s lots more
There’s Lots More
  • 2003: Act 68; School Meals; Emergency Preparedness; Bidding & Transportation Contracts; NCLBA State Alignment; Technical Corrections (8 separate provisions); Passenger Safety Act; Service Dogs in Public Accommodations; Mandatory Child Abuse Reporting; Tech Ed for “Remote” Students; Adult Ed Funding
there s lots more1
There’s Lots More
  • 2004: Harassment; Bullying; Youth in Agriculture; Medicaid; School Construction Aid Eligibility; NCLBA Compliance; Act 130; Nutrition Policy in Schools Act; Liability Insurance; Regional Tech Centers; Budget Surpluses; Korean Vet Diplomas
  • 2005: Agency Fees; School Buses; Capital Construction
and finally in the last two years
And Finally…In the last two years
  • 2006: Allergies & Chronic Illnesses; VSBPE; Informing Students & Parents of Rights; Vermont Products in Schools; High School Completion for “Dropouts”; Early Education; Capital Construction & State Bonding; Suicide Prevention; Technical Corrections (12 provisions); Home Study Programs; Funding Tech Ed Districts
and finally in the last two years1
And Finally…In the last two years
  • 2007: Education Quality & Cost Control (H.526); Technical Corrections (5 provisions); Pre-Kindergarten; Motor Vehicle Idling; Statewide School Calendar; High School Diploma for Vietnam Vets AND…19 “Summer” Studies & Reports
summer studies reports
COE: Grade Level Weights

COE: Excess Spending Threshold

JFO: Cost Drivers

COE: DOE Operations & Effectiveness*

JFO: Provision of Special Ed—Cost Shifts*

JFO: Ed Services Funded by Medicaid

JFO: Mandates & Cost Shifts*

COE: Financial Mgt. of Districts & S.U.’s

COE: Education Governance*

Prop. Valuation & Review: Rolling Reappraisals

COE: Statewide Calendar

COE: ADM by Sampling*

COE: Distance Learning

COE: Teen Parent Education

JFO: School Construction Finance

COE & Finance: School Construction

AHS & COE: Success Beyond Six

COE: Racially & Ethnically Diverse Teachers

AHS & COE: Autism Spectrum Disorders

Summer Studies & Reports
changed federal state local relationship
Changed Federal, State & Local Relationship
  • Pre Act 60
  • Post Act 60
  • Goals 2000 to NCLBA
  • Who’s The “Senior Partner” Now?
public perceptions of education issues
Public Perceptions of Education Issues
  • Governor Douglas Very Popular
  • Governor’s Spending Caps Supported by Majority
  • Property Taxes Seen as Excessive by Two-Thirds
  • Excessive School Spending Seen as Cause of High Property Taxes by 27%
public perceptions of education issues1
Public Perceptions of Education Issues
  • Three of Five Voters Rate Vermont Schools as “Above Average”
  • BUT, Voters do NOT View Local Schools as Highly as Vermont Schools in General
  • Only 46% See Vermont Education as Having Improved in Last Two Years; 29% Now See School Quality as on Decline
public perceptions of education issues2
Public Perceptions of Education Issues

On The Other Hand..

  • Most Voters Not Willing to Trade Local Control for Property Tax Relief
  • Even More Unwilling to Trade Cuts in Enrichment Courses for Property Tax Relief
  • Almost As Many Unwilling to Trade Sports for Property Tax Relief
public perceptions of education issues3
Public Perceptions of Education Issues
  • Most Believe Their Local Districts Can Make Only Modest Spending Cuts Without Hurting Quality
  • Most Want Budget Decisions Made Locally
  • Vermonters Still Rank Schools More Favorably Than Voters in Almost All Other States
and school spending patterns change
And School Spending Patterns Change

This chart shows that the rate of growth in education spending has been slowing significantly in recent years, as school boards and administrators strive to contain costs. Vermont’s annual education spending percent increase for FY08 is estimated to be 4.37%. Meanwhile, the most recent data available (2005-06) shows that personal income per capita grew 4.7% in Vermont.

education fact sheet
Education Fact Sheet

This chart, prepared by the Joint Fiscal Office, shows the average annual percentage change in per pupil spending from 1998-2006, grouped by high and low spending districts in 1998. Since 1998, equity as measured by spending per equalized pupil has improved in Vermont’s public school system. Vermont’s lowest spending districts have increased their investments in education the most, while the State’s highest spending districts are actually spending fewer inflation-adjusted dollars per pupil than in 1998.

two vote budget approval process
Two Vote Budget Approval Process
  • Act 82 limits the amount an above-average spending district may increase its per equalized pupil spending;
  • If amount of the budget proposal is greater than maximum allowed, voters must “think twice” via separate ballot warning.
the maximum inflation amount
The “Maximum Inflation Amount”

Two components to determine how much above-

average spenders may increase education spending

without a separate vote:

  • Prior year’s statewide average education spending per equalized pupil
  • An inflationary index
the ballot
The Ballot

The school budget ballot must warn the two

questions, if necessary, as follows:

  • “Shall the voters of the School District approve a total budget in the amount of [$ ], which includes the Maximum Inflation Amount of education spending?”
  • “If Question #1 is approved, shall the voters of the School District also approve additional education spending of [$ ]?”
declining enrollment
Declining Enrollment
  • Districts with declining enrollment will be allowed to use the prior year’s pupil count for the purposes of calculating their maximum inflation amount.
  • This will aid districts with one year of decline, but districts with persistent declining enrollment can expect tighter budgetary restrictions from the MIA.
s u bargaining
S.U. Bargaining
  • Act 82 requires all school boards within a supervisory union to bargain jointly with all employee bargaining units.
  • Any negotiated agreement would be subject to separate ratification votes.
  • Failure to ratify the common contract will result in further, individual negotiations between the district and the bargaining unit.
two exceptions
Two Exceptions

Districts May Bargain Separately When:

  • The supervisory union has more than one high school.
  • The S.U. includes both districts that tuition high school students and districts that encompass grades K-12.
grade level weighting
Grade Level Weighting
  • The secondary pupil weighting (grades 7-12) will be lowered from 1.25 to 1.13 effective for the 2007-08 school year.
  • Assuming budgets and enrollments remain constant, this change will increase the per pupil cost of educating a secondary student, and decrease the per pupil cost of educating an elementary student.


Union high school districts should expect increased per pupil costs as a result.
  • Most taxpayers’ bills will not see a significant difference due to this change, because the bill will reflect higher secondary costs and lower elementary costs.

See Handout for More Information

high spending sped districts
High Spending SpEd Districts
  • The Commissioner is to identify districts spending 20% greater than average on special education and develop “remediation plans” with those districts.
  • If the district does not make “satisfactory progress” within a period of years, it would be subject to a 10% special education reimbursement withholding.
a notice to taxpayers
A Notice to Taxpayers
  • Every school tax bill mailed will include a two-page flyer with charts intended to show the relationship between school spending and education property tax rates.
  • The sub-title is: “The more you spend, the more you pay.”
state placed students
State-placed Students

Beginning in FY09, districts will be eligible for 100% reimbursement of costs for state placed students, including mainstream costs, if the district can document all costs.

and finally there s all those studies
And Finally, There’s All Those Studies
  • Biannual Recommendations on Grade Level Weights
  • Analysis and Recommendations Regarding High Spending Special Education Districts
  • A Study of Cost Drivers in Education
  • A Study of Operational Effectiveness and Efficiency of the DOE
  • Education Governance Report and Recommendations
and finally there s all those studies1
And Finally, There’s All Those Studies
  • Recommendations for the Interagency Provision of Special Education Services
  • Study of Educational Services Funded by Medicaid
  • Mandates Study
  • Examination and Recommendations Regarding the Financial Management of Districts
  • Rolling Reappraisal Feasibility Study
what can you do now
What Can YOU Do Now?
  • Work With Your Board to Determine Effects of Act 82 on Your District
  • Schedule a Meeting With Your Legislators Before January
  • Tell Them How Act 82 Will Effect Your School
  • Ask Them If They Will Work to Remedy Act 82
  • Sign Up for VSBA Legislative Liaison; Prepare to Stay Engaged
we need to work together
We Need To Work Together
  • Contact Your Regional VSBA Board Representatives With Questions and Ideas
  • Contact the VSBA Office for Information, Talking Points and Strategies
  • Attend VSBA Annual Meeting to Vote on Resolutions
  • Coordinate With Your Administrators, Parents and Teachers