POWNAL, Vt. -- The Pownal School District warned that a fiscal year 2014 budget represents an 11 percent increase in spending and is anticipated to result in a 15 percent tax rate increase in the district.
Similar to other area districts, Pownal is being hit hard by a decrease in federal support grants and increased special education needs that make up a large portion of the $470,000 increase to the $4.5 million budget.
"[The budget shows] a $470,000 increase, of which $360,000 of that is the [Southwest Vermont Supervisory Union's assessment], and of that $360,000, $243,000 of that is special ed," SVSU Chief Financial Officer Richard Pembroke explained.
Included in the special education increase is an additional paraprofessional, as well as increased occupational therapy and physical therapy support services.
Taxpayers will also have to pick up an additional $90,000 due to a loss of federal grants that are being used this year to pay for a paraprofessional, the home-to-school liaison, the after-school kindergarten camp and summer programing. Additional increases come from a number of costs, including a 15-percent increase in health insurance costs.