South Burlington High School students have their temperatures taken

The Senate allocated more funds for coronavirus related expenses for schools. Here, South Burlington High School students have their temperatures taken on the first day of school, Sept. 8.

The Vermont Senate, meeting online, passed a $7.15 billion budget on Thursday, Sept. 17.

This budget makes few major changes to the spending bill that the House passed the previous week, but increases funding for Vermont schools to cover COVID-19 expenses — and a hazard pay program for essential workers.

The Senate passed the budget bill last week, sending it back to the House’s court.

Speaking to the Senate, Sen. Jane Kitchel, D-Caledonia, the chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, noted that while the state’s tax revenues have been “hammered” by the pandemic, this year’s budget “does not fully reflect that.”

Lawmakers and Gov. Phil Scott were able to avoid making big cuts this year, in large part because of a tax surplus in July.

Read more at VTDigger.org (Senate OKs budget with increased funding for schools, hazard pay program).

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