School Board OKs 4.7 percent budget hike
By Josh O’Gorman
STAFF WRITER | January 23,2013
The Rutland City School Board has “reluctantly” approved a budget hike of 4.7 percent.
The board on Tuesday night ratified a proposed budget of $47,277,683, which is $2,120,136 more than the current operating budget of $45,157,547.
“I reluctantly support this budget,” said board member Rob Towle, who was not alone in his expression of reluctance. Board member Robert Kurchena also used the same word to express his support.
“Spending doesn’t solve problems. We can certainly look to Europe for that. Leadership does, and we need to keep a really close eye on the ball,” Kurchena said.
Despite their reluctance, Kurchena and Towle voted in favor of the proposal, as did other members of the School Board, save Wayne Cooke and Douglas Gage, who opposed it, and board President Peter Mello who abstained. Mello did share a few thoughts on the importance of education being more than a summation of budget lines.
“I know the taxes are what everyone is concerned with. But here is the danger of looking at things purely from a financial perspective,” he said. “To keep the tax rate flat, we would have to cut $2 million every year. Nobody I’ve talked to has said they want their taxes to go up, but I’d like to preserve the distinction our schools have in the area.”
Board member Hurley Cavacas, Jr., made the motion to approve, which was seconded by Peter Fagan.
“You can’t level fund forever,” Fagan said. “There are certain pressures that sooner or later we need to address.”
An approved budget will add 9 cents to the tax rate, raising it from $1.40 to $1.49 for every $100 of appraised value. For a property valued at $150,000, it will add $127 a year for a household income exceeding $100,000. A household earning $50,000 would see an increase of $90 for the same property.