Education

Education is necessary not just to live a satisfying and productive life, but also to participate meaningfully as a citizen in our democracy. Vermont is fortunate that its public school financing system provides an adequate, sustainable source of funding and is fairer to both taxpayers and pupils than any other system in the country. Vermont needs to ensure the continued integrity and health of its school funding system and provide a way to make college accessible and affordable to all Vermonters.

IN FOCUS
June 29, 2017

While press and public attention focused last week on the feud over who should negotiate teacher health insurance benefits, the Legislature was making more consequential changes to education funding that will affect schools and taxpayers in the 2018-2019 school year. It’s not clear yet how to mitigate these shortsighted changes next session. But there is an obvious step that needs to be taken to ensure the Education Fund is thoughtfully managed in the future.

We need a formal body, similar to the Emergency Board (which determines the consensus revenue forecasts) or the Debt Affordability Advisory Committee, to recommend education tax rates and use of Education Fund reserves. An Education Fund Stabilization Advisory Committee could help to ensure the long-term fiscal health of Vermont’s education finance system and avoid dramatic school tax increases like we can expect to see next year.

The health care feud ended up being a fight over $13 million, spread over two years. That’s not to be ignored. But out of total school tax collections of more than $2 billion over the next two years, the savings will be barely noticeable.

Publications

Act 60 turns 20
6/27/17 - Op-ed
A Framework for Progress
9/6/16 - Report