The student reps to the school board were not in attendance and board member Jenn Wilson
came in to the meeting about half way through.
Before community comments at the meeting Thursday night board chair Kumulia Long wanted
to address some comments from previous meetings. He said that maintenance is taking place and they
are prioritizing those things that are most needed. Janet Babits was concerned about the money spent
on the estimates from TruexCullens. She also doesn’t think that the town can absorb the cost of a new
school. She urged the board to spend better. Ember Quinn asked for the BLM flag to be flown
During the consent agenda there was a short discussion about purchasing busses and how that
might save on transportation costs. They are exploring transportation options.
In the superintendent’s report, Amy talked about leadership development and how they are
using a learning lab model with other schools. Each school has been doing an analysis on how they are
teaching and learning math. They are looking at what is working in teaching and coaching math. Last
month Amy attended a training on Act 127 and how different factors will affect the FY25 budgets
including the ending of ESSER funds, inflation, declining populations, facility conditions and the new
funding formula. As part of Act 72 all schools in the state had an assessment done for all buildings.
MTSD had until 12/8 to submit a form to VT AOE to request any changes. The Wellness Committee
performed the required assessment and met to go over results. They will meet again next month to
Matt Grasso started the operations report stating that the 20% increase in property taxes the
state released last week is not representative of what the increase of Milton’s taxes will be. As far as the
financials go, they are normal for where we are in the year.
The MES principals did their report Thursday night. The school is partnering with several
different consultants including All Learners Network for math, Partners for Literacy and learning for
reading and Springboard Collaborative for students who are behind in their reading. Faculty book groups
have been on going and special educators are learning more about Act 173. Vermont Family Network
will be bringing their puppets to the school for kindergarten and first graders. The fall DESSA assessment
has been completed. Family conferences were conducted mid-November. Fire safety week took place in
October. Third and fourth graders will be participating in an Abenaki Drummer assembly. First grade will
take a field trip to Shelburne Farms. The book fair was a success. NBC5 broadcast the weather with
kindergarten and third grade students.
In the committee reports, the policy committee met last Monday and had six policies going
through Thursday evening. The facilities committee hasn’t met, but will meet on 12/11. The finance
committee met twice, but no details were given as the budget presentation was later that night.
The FY25 budget presentation took place. Those factors affecting the budget are Act 127,
federal relief funds and facilities issues. ESSER funds are running out and when grants end those
positions added with those funds are not automatically rolled into the general fund. There are six
positions that will end due to the end of ESSER funds and four HVAC projects were completed using
ESSER funds. Because of Act 127 the MTSD’s spending per pupil will increase without any additions to the budget. A higher tax will be required, but cuts will need to be made. The entire state is facing huge
facilities spending. The state may or may not put state spending towards school facilities. Right now
MTSD is working on the Milton Innovation Center, has about $1 million available through the capital
reserve fund and the Herrick Project feedback is ongoing. Each of the three schools wants to roll
positions that were paid for by ESSER funds into the general fund. MES wants the keep the Instructional
Coach. MMS wants to keep a Social Worker and a Restorative Practices/Behavior Services Coordinator.
MHS wants to keep a Math Interventionist and the Director of Student Engagement. The district wants
to keep an EL Teacher.
After this, Matt gave a presentation on how Act 127 will affect the tax rate in Milton. Currently
under the draft FY25 budget we are looking at an increase of 13.92%. If cuts are made to the budget to
get below 10% the tax increase will be capped at 5%. This means cutting about $1.3 million from the
budget. If the district decides to stay with 13.92% and goes in front of the review board the 5% cap will
not be able to be used again. If the budget comes in below 5%, again, the cap will not be able to be used
ever. This means that the budget should shoot for between 5% and 10% increase to be capped at 5%.
This is why the 18.5% increase tax letter released recently doesn’t necessarily apply to Milton. However,
the actual tax increase won’t be known until after the vote in March.
During the discussion the board decided to shoot for a tax increase below 10%. Melinda Young
asked if the board has any say in specific budget cuts. Amy said that they don’t. That the board votes on
a budget and the administration decides how the money is spent. Melinda is concerned that the new
positions being asked for aren’t necessary and she doesn’t want to see the students harmed by budget
cuts while administration gets whatever they want. Amy gave her justification for the board not making
recommendations saying that it would be difficult for them to make those decisions and have to answer
to the voters after. Ultimately it was decided that difficult decisions will have to be made. Right now, the
MTSD is on the right track with increasing proficiencies, but budget cuts may affect that.
There was one community comment on line about the Herrick avenue survey and tax issues.
The two overnight international field trips were approved as were four policies during action
items. The policies were B7 Tobacco, C3 Transportation, F1 Travel Reimbursement, F3 Operations-Based
Response to Violent Intruder Drills, Fire Drills, and Emergency Preparedness. All were required policies.
Before going to executive session Shawn Tatro questioned the Herrick Ave survey numbers,
urged the board to abandon a new school and questioned keeping five positions when they are having
to make $1.3million in cuts to stay below a 10% tax increase.