From the Champlain Valley School District Board of Directors:

Myth: All decisions around budgeting are made at the Central Office.

Truth: There’s quite a detailed process that helps inform decisions.

The larger community is invited each fall to share its thoughts and provide input at the Community Budget Forum and via an online survey. Faculty and staff are asked for their ideas and input in each of our buildings. The CVSD leadership team meets with school-based leadership teams for instructional service planning meetings. The district principals, special education directors and superintendent meet monthly at CVU to discuss factors impacting the budget. All of this information is taken into consideration. Presentations are made to the school board starting in November and into January. Finally, the school board adopts a proposed budget that is presented to voters on Town Meeting Day.

Myth: The community is not involved in the budgeting process.

Truth: We welcome community input in many ways.

The Community Budget Forum officially kicks off the fall budgeting cycle in October each year.

We also collect input via survey and at all of the school board budget meetings. The next meeting is on November 19 with special education as the focus topic. For a full schedule of the meetings, see below or visit

Myth: Principals count the votes on Town Meeting Day for the school district’s budget.

Truth: The ballots are counted by town officials in each town.

While some believe that our principals are closely connected to the budget count, they are waiting at home like many of us to hear the final outcome.

Myth: Each school has its own budget.

Truth: We are a consolidated district and have one budget for the whole district.

Specific elements are broken down by school to allow for local decision-making and to ensure that each school retains its individual identity. Most elements of the budget are managed at the district level. The district has realized over $600,000 in savings and cost avoidance since consolidation, as well as a savings of time through efficiency. For example, consolidation allows principals to spend more time on educational leadership and less on financial and operational activities.

Myth: The budgeting process only happens between October and January.

Truth: We budget year-round.

The fall budget cycle is the time when the district puts numbers to the strategic allocation of resources. But the important work of the board is done year-round where organizational goals are defined to actionable priorities. For example, in 2018 the board had a goal of providing educational equity across the district. But it quickly realized that its members did not have a common definition of equity. Time was scheduled over the next year to discuss in-depth what was meant by “equity” and how the board could prioritize resources in the next budget cycle to move the district toward this goal. Another board goal is providing an excellent education to students. But turning this into specific, actionable budget priorities would take more than one meeting in the fall. Multiple meetings spent reviewing and discussing academic data led to the development of strategic priorities that are being addressed in the budget this year.

Upcoming budget meetings

• Nov. 19

Topic: Special ed

• Dec. 3

Topic: Instructional program

• Dec. 17

Topic: Operations and maintenance

• Jan. 7, 2020

Topic: Summary and tax implications

• Jan. 21, 2020

Topic: Final approval of warnings

All events take place at CVU at 6 p.m.  and will be streamed live thanks to RETN

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