The Moretown School Board adopted a general fund budget of $2,292,057 for the 2016-2017 year, which is up 3.5 percent over last year’s budget. The board also approved $178,847 for Moretown Education Center for All (MECA) program for a total combined budget of $2,470,904.

MECA expenses are fully funded by revenue into the MECA program so there is no taxpayer support of MECA or cost included in education spending or cost per equalized pupil for the program.

The Moretown proposed budget results in a 0.5 percent increase in the cost per pupil, bringing the school’s equalized per pupil spending up from $17,605 to $17,697. The state’s Act 46 cap for equalized per pupil spending is $17,750.

The school board proposed increasing a current 0.56 FTE (full-time equivalent) teaching position to a full-time position and cutting two support staff positions, bringing the school’s full-time equivalent teachers from 23 to 18.

Moretown has 101.5 equalized pupils this year and projects 107.71 equalized pupils next year, an increase of 6.1 percent.

Principal Duane Peterson said the school avoided cutting programming.

“It’s always the same; you have to weigh what’s in the best interest of the kids with being fiscally responsible for the taxpayers,” he said.

“The proposed budget included the replacement of an educator in our upper unit (this was a grade 3, 4 educator). At the time of the reduction decision three years ago our slight decline in enrollment and local budget targets supported this move. Over the past three years our staff placed time and energy into a combined 4-5-6 grade education program that came with some successes and faced some challenges that educating a span of 4th- to 6th-grade students brings with it,” Pierson wrote in his report for the Town Report.