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MAP: Where Vermont school districts struggled to pass a budget

Vermont school districts struggled more than usual to convince voters to approve budgets this spring as they faced double-digit property tax increases.

The increase was estimated to be 18.5%, ultimately whittled down to 13.8%.

It all came to a head three months ago when Vermonters in nearly a third of the state’s school districts voted down their school budgets.

Two districts — Enosburgh Richford and Barre Unified Unified Union School District — still haven’t passed their budgets.

Because Vermont’s education funding is statewide, individual budget cuts don’t translate into comparable savings for taxpayers, putting school districts in a bind.

“For every dollar we cut from the school budget, St. Johnsbury saves about 20 cents. The state keeps the rest and uses it to lower taxes in other towns,” said St. Johnsbury School Board Vice Chair Peter VanStraten in a letter to voters before a third (successful) budget vote. “This is not a vote on what is happening in Montpelier. Please keep that for November.”

Have questions, comments or tips? Send us a message. Or contact the reporter directly at corey.dockser@vermontpublic.org.

Corrected: June 24, 2024 at 2:30 PM EDT
The visuals in this article have been updated to reflect the fact that, while Hartland SD did pass a budget on its first vote, the budget the district will use was passed on a third vote.
Corey Dockser is Vermont Public’s first data journalist, a role combining programming and journalism to produce stories that would otherwise go unheard. His work ranges from complex interactive visualizations to simple web scraping and data cleaning. Corey graduated from Northeastern University in 2022 with a BS in data science and journalism. He previously worked at The Buffalo News in Buffalo, New York as a Dow Jones News Fund Data Journalism intern, and at The Boston Globe.
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