Fayston Elementary School budget up 2.2 percent

Fayston taxpayers will be asked to approve spending $1,763,836 in the 2013-2014 school year, an increase of 2.2 percent over the expenditures approved by voters last year.

Those expenditures will be reduced by projected revenues of $318,756. Last year the school had revenues of $321,148. School principal Jean Berthiume said that while the percentage of increase for the coming year is the lowest in The Valley, it is magnified by how Vermont calculates the education funds that each school receives.

Berthiume said that there’s a brief window during which the state calculates student enrollment and then uses that number as the basis for state education funding.

“Then the window closes and we get five new students,” he said. Berthiume said that this fall the school ended up with five new pupils and said some of them are from families who moved to Fayston so that their other children could attend GMVS which is now offering seventh- and eight-grades.

For the coming year, Fayston will have 93.80 equalized pupils, down from this year’s 98.92 pupils and down from 107.09 pupils in 2011-2012. The schools per pupil spending in 2011-2012 was $13,199 (the state’s base education spending/funding per pupil that year was $8,544). During this budget year the school’s per pupil spending is $14,199 (state’s base spending/funding was $8,723). The proposed 2013-2014 budget will see the town’s per pupil spending rise to $15,406 with the state grant projected to rise to $9,151. By way of comparison, Harwood Union’s per pupil spending in 2011-2012 was $12,634, $12,793 in 2012-2013 and is projected at $14,030 for 2013-2014.

The 2.2 percent overall increase reflects a 14 percent increase in health care costs for the school. It also reflects a 2.7 percent increase in salaries as well as an 18.7 percent reduction in library/media and AV/technology budgets.

Fayston’s assessment to the Washington West Supervisory Union is up 2.6 percent and its fiscal services line item budget is up 6 percent. That line item includes business management, payroll and accounting services and auditing. It is handled out of the Washington West Supervisory Union offices. The general Washington West assessment is $37,445 and the fiscal services line item is projected at $23,889.

Fayston’s transportation costs will rise 9.5 percent, to $50,586 from $46,185.

The school board is also proposing increasing the funds contributed to the school’s maintenance reserve fund to $50,000 for the 2013-2014 school year. In the 2012-2013 school year $35,000 was earmarked for the fund. In 2011-2012, $13,631 went into the fund. The fund balance currently stands at $45,015.

Waitsfield Elementary School budget up 6.28 percent

Waitsfield voters will be asked to approve a 2013-2014 budget at Town Meeting that is up 6.28 percent. The proposed budget is $2,305,417, up from last year’s $2,169,090.

Waitsfield anticipates $400,566 in revenue in 2013-2014 to offset the budget, leaving the net spending for that year at $1,906,058. Last year the school received $439,148 in revenue and had net spending of $1,729,942.

Over a third of the increased cost (2.6 percent) is a result of the school’s health care costs rising 15 percent. Another 2.3 percent of the increase is due to increase in nursing staff and special education contracted services. Increased transportation costs account for .97 percent of the increase. Wage increases account for .66 percent of the increase and that includes the reduction of one third- and fourth-grade teacher and the addition of a kindergarten teacher.

Waitsfield’s regular education salaries are proposed at $716,695, down from this year’s $743,872. Special education costs are up 32.8 percent in the proposed budget at $200,939 next year, up from $165,883 this year. Health services (including increased nursing staff) are up 41.1 percent, and speech services are down 4.7 percent.

Waitsfield’s Washington West Supervisory Union general assessment is up 5.8 percent, from $49,465 to $52,337. The school’s fiscal services costs (handled by Washington West) are up 8.3 percent, from $29,476 to $31,919.

Transportation costs at the school are up 23.8 percent, from $47,313 to$58,553.

Waitsfield’s per pupil costs for the coming year will be $14,539, based on an equalized pupil enrollment of 131.10. In the 2012-2013 school year, Waitsfield’s per pupil costs were $13,172, based on 131.33 equalized pupils (average per pupil spending in the state during this time period is $12,789).

In 2011-2012 the school’s per pupil cost was $12,669, based on 139.72 equalized pupils. For comparison, Harwood Union’s per pupil costs were $12,634 (2011-2012), $12,793 (2012-2013) and $14,030 (2013-2014).

The basic education grant from the state for education funding was $8,544 in 2011-2012, $8,723 in 2012-2013 and $9,151 for the 2013-2014 budget year.