As part of the new Greater Rutland County Supervisory Union, the Quarry Valley Unified Union School District, which includes West Rutland, Poultney and Proctor, has proposed a $17,617,200 budget for voters in those towns to consider at town meeting.
Education spending is slated to increase from $15 million to $16 million, but district-wide expenses will only increase by $171,985 to rest at $5.6 million.
The major cost, according to Superintendent Deb Taylor, was health insurance premiums through Blue Cross Blue Shield, which increased 11.8 percent.
By consolidating resources resulting from the Rutland Central and Rutland Southwest Supervisory Union merger, the district saved $215,478 in central office expenditures, though its budget increased overall by $1 million.
Local revenue increased by $204,006 and state revenue increased by $837,713 for a total projected budget revenue of $17,617,200.
Poultney Elementary School is weighing an increase of $174,921, with $39,951 going toward preschool costs.
“The increase in pre-K costs is due to an increase in students,” Taylor said. “Over the past few years, Poultney has had approximately 50 students attending pre-K. In FY19, this number has risen to approximately 60 students. This increase in cost reflects these extra students for next year as well.”
If approved, the Poultney Elementary School budget would increase by $23,000 due to purchased services from the supervisory union, such as special education teachers and instructional assistants.
“There is a portion of each special education employee’s time and cost that is not eligible for special ed because of the work they are doing,” Taylor said. “These regular ed services are billed back to the districts as a purchased service based on the building that the staff work in. For the budget, we used an estimate of this ineligible time that would be billed back. This estimated percentage was higher than was used in the past because in the past we had to make adjustments after the year was complete, as their actual percentage was coming in higher than the estimate we used.”
Poultney High School’s budget is increasing from $2.4 million to $2.6 million due in part to an increase in employee health insurance and a $13,979 increase in principal office wages, bringing that total to $181,308.
Health insurance costs are slated to increase from $12,915 to $40,138.
The school’s psychology budget is increasing by $37,000 to rest at $113,639 because of the transfer of two positions from the GRCSU back to Quarry Valley’s regular education budget because their caseload is not eligible for special education, Taylor said.
At Proctor Elementary School, instructional costs remain in the vicinity of $1 million, while the budget for guidance services would rise by around $13,000.
Health services at the school is rising by $4,700, and library budgets are slated to almost double, resting at $50,046 due in part to increases in group health insurance costs rising from $11,000 to $20,000.
The budget for the school’s co-curricula would be cut in half, resting at $3,911 because of the elimination of the Homework Club, which was replaced by the Tapestry Program, and preschool tuition is up from $51,000 to $57,000 due to tuition.
Proctor High School expenses are slated to remain fairly stable at $1.6 million, with the only major hike in expenses attributed to a $60,000 increase in principal’s office wages.
The West Rutland School is slated for a $300,000 increase in its budget, resting at $3.9 million, with a $17,000 increase in principal wages, bringing that budget up to $249,851.
Health insurance is slated to increase by $5,000 to rest at $90,000. Though there is no comparative budget for last year’s psychological services, Taylor said the district plans to move grant funds to a local budget. The proposed psychological services budget of $123,066 includes a family school coordinator and a new student support clinician position.
“The emotional and social issues for students increase every year,” Taylor said. “This position is to help address these concerns to help remove some of the barriers our students have to be successful in school.”
Taylor said the district hired a new athletic trainer position, which added $24,000 to the overall athletics budget, coming to rest at $64,000.
“At the time that this position was added, the amount of $40,000 was put into the budget as an estimate,” Taylor said.
Two teachers are retiring from the district this year and the positions are budgeted to be replaced.