“I believe the current education funding mechanism is broken and that acts 60 and 68 have not produced substantial equity in educational opportunity,” stated the letter from Sibilia.
In support of her claim, Sibilia noted that there are 87 small school districts in the state with a combined student population of 3,800 and educational expenses totaling $44.8 million. In contrast, Burlington is Vermont’s largest school district with approximately 3,900 students and a $49.9 million budget.
“I hope that you are asking yourselves how it can be that the largest single school district in Vermont is spending more than the 87 smallest,” said Sibilia in her letter. Her commentary concluded with the necessity for a study on Vermont standards for quality in education to establish a per-pupil cost that meets those standards in every school district, large or small.
Turning to the subject of pupil transportation, the board considered bids for a new school bus and after deliberating on the size, agreed to purchase a 54-passenger bus from Datco at a cost of $82,580. A portion of the purchase price is being paid through a grant from the state.
In his report to the board, school principal Bill Anton noted that, in September, Dover School received the results of the New England Common Assessment Program tests taken last spring. Dover fourth-grade students achieved 82% proficiency, a gain of 36% from 2008. Anton also said the fall reading, writing, and math NECAP tests have been completed by grades three through six and scores will be available in February.
In his report, Anton gave “two thumbs up” to the Dover School open house that took place on October 6. “It was a rousing success,” said Anton, adding that “the evening hit a crescendo with the opening of the rock wall with giant scissors.”
Anton also told the board that the new owners of the Andirons came to the school and gave a presentation to students that included details about the state-of-the-art skateboard park to be erected on the Andirons property. “The facility represents a great integration of school and community,” said board member Vicki Capitani.
In their primary function as policy makers, the board revised the drug and alcohol abuse policy to reflect students in grades K through six, rather than K through 12 as previously written. Under the heading “implementation,” the board changed the person responsible from “superintendent” to “principal.”
Another function of the board is to approve requests for fundraising events. They approved a Hunter’s Breakfast fundraiser with the caveat that approval for other events will be withheld until they receive a complete list of all fundraisers planned by the sixth-grade this year.