Town Meeting Day is March 3. Here in the towns of Mendon and Chittenden, citizens will vote on the Barstow Unified Union School District (preK-12) budget.

Please consider a “yes” vote on the Barstow UUSD budget because I believe we are getting our “money’s worth” from our investment. I encourage you to consider the following in making your decision.

First, the Barstow UUSD Board of School Directors has been fiscally responsible over the past few years. With the decrease in student population, teaching and staff positions at Barstow Memorial School have been reduced and budgets contained. The FY2021 District Net Education Spending has a modest increase of 3.81%, which is in line with neighboring districts and well below the Vermont tax commissioner’s estimate of 5.53%.

Next, we should consider the comparison of what we spend per pupil to that of the average state figure. Barstow’s proposed education spending per equalized pupil of $16,134, is lower than the anticipated Vermont state average per pupil spending of $17,133. This figure is $1,000 less than the state figure and among the lowest in the area.

As a final consideration, I would ask people to think of the purpose of public education: to prepare students to be productive and contributing members of society. Let’s look at what some of the “30 something” former Barstow students are doing now to see if they fulfill this purpose.

The former Barstow students I know are school teachers, hospital administrators, dental hygienists, physician assistants, veterinarians, lawyers, ski racing coordinators, realtors, writers, investment bankers, restaurant managers, U.S. Forest Service employees, performing artists, builders and golf professionals. They are all from different families, attended different high schools, post-graduate programs and colleges, but they have one thing in common: they all graduated from Barstow Memorial School. I would argue that Barstow is definitely fulfilling its educational purpose for students.

Please plan to vote “yes” on March 3 on the Barstow Unified Union School District budget. You will definitely get your “money’s worth.”

Meredith Voutas lives in North Chittenden.

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