School mergers last year mean new, big budgets this year - how will Town Meeting voters respond?
"In other words, Act 46 rules forced the creation of districts like Windham Southeast Unified Union School District, Franklin Northwest Unified Union School District, and Barre Unified Union School District last July, meaning this Town Meeting Day is the first in which members of multiple towns are voting for one centralized school budget. Because all of those districts were forced to merge rather than doing so voluntarily, they lost out on tax breaks meant to make the transition easier. For example, Barre Unified Union School District would have received $5 million had Barre City and Barre Town agreed on the merger. Paul Malone, the board chair of the Barre Unified Union School District, says it's been a difficult year making tough decisions. "It was a matter of trying to bring all the different kinds of educational systems into one. It was bringing the financial pictures into one, changing policies so the policies were more uniform across the entire district. That's a major challenge onto itself," he said.”
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