At its February 1, 2023, meeting, the Harwood Unified Union School District (HUUSD) Board approved warning a FY2024 budget of $45,422,241 to go before district voters on Town Meeting Day 2023. The proposed budget is a 6.5% increase over last year’s budget.
The board’s warning includes, “It is estimated that this proposed budget, if approved, will result in education spending of $22,322 per equalized pupil.”
According to legislature.vermont.gov, “The objective of calculating equalized pupils is to create an “average” student in terms of assumed costs for a given district. Specific categories of students are presumed to have different costs than other categories … The intended end result is that the “cost” of an equalized pupil from any district can be compared to the “cost” of an equalized pupil from any other district in terms of the criteria identified in statute … Equalized pupils are based on two years of Average Daily Membership data (ADM). The ADM is the full-time equivalent number of resident students whose education is paid for by the district of residence, from the 11th day through the 30th day of the school year. A two-year average is used to smooth out annual student population fluctuations in school districts.”
Seventy-one percent of the proposed HUUSD FY2024 budget is comprised of employee salaries and benefits. The second largest portion of the budget is ‘other purchase services’ (9%), which includes transportation, tuition (such as Central Vermont Career Center and special education out of district), professional services, staff development and training, and special education professional services. The third greatest expense is supplies (5%), which includes oil and gas for school buildings and custodial and general education supplies.
Special education costs are up 23% over last year’s budget. Psychological services are up 12%, guidance is up 18%, occupational therapy is up 39% and student support services is up 39%. The operations budget is up 15% and driver’s ed costs are up 66%.