Virginia Ray

WSESD voters, citing student needs, pass $65.8M budget

Bottom line: hold legislators accountable for a difficult funding formula and last-minute decisions at the ballot box in November

After about 80 minutes of discussion, 242, or 1.7%, of Windham Southeast School District (WSESD) voters agreed to a $65,846,891 budget for fiscal year 2025 at its annual meeting on March 19.

The breakdown of voters in attendance at Brattleboro Union High School was: 120, or 1.3% of eligible voters, from Brattleboro; 35, or 2.2%, from Dummerston; 49, or 2.8%, from Guilford; and 38, or 1.9%, from Putney.

Moderator Steven Brown quickly dispatched articles electing him as moderator, Frank Rucker as treasurer, and Mo Hart as board clerk, and agreeing to pay school board members $7,000 each annually and the chair $9,000 annually.

Rucker, noting that many school budgets have failed to pass across the state due to the legislative unknowns, said the budget includes staffing allocation, investment in training, and other supports that have had a "substantial impact on kids" and that administrators wanted to retain in the budget.

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Town Meeting boosts measures for climate change

Annual Representative Town Meeting also bumps up human services allocations for next year in a $23 million town budget

Representative Town Meeting members went through several hours of discussion regarding non-binding resolutions after members increased the fiscal year 2025 budget by $70,000 for climate change concerns and passed a total budget of $23,063,830 - a 4.3% increase over this year's - by a 65–41 vote. The budget is...

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Neighbors take Putney project protest to Vt. Supreme Court

Plaintiffs contend fraudulent process in planned housing development

Less than a month after their third appeal was turned down, two neighbors of the Windham & Windsor Housing Trust's proposed affordable housing community on Alice Holway Drive have filed a fourth appeal - this time to the Vermont Supreme Court. Laura Campbell and Deborah Lazar have made the...

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Savage maintains WSESD board win

Owing to an editor's error, the town clerk of Dummerston was inadvertently identified in the print version of this story and the original online post. It has been corrected. ——— After unofficially winning a three-year seat as a director on the Windham Southeast School District (WSESD) School Board by just two votes in the March 5 election, Colleen Savage has retained that win following a recount. In the end, newcomer Savage won the seat over newcomer Richard Leavy by eight...

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Brattleboro Town Meeting will consider $22.9M budget

Representative Town Meeting here will convene on Saturday, March 23, at 8:30 a.m., in the Brattleboro Union High School gymnasium. If members do not finish the warrant, the meeting will recess at 5 p.m. and continue on Sunday, March 24, at 8:30 a.m. In anticipation of the RTM, the Selectboard hosted an informational meeting on March 13. "This is not the meeting to get into substantive debate on any of the articles," warned Selectboard Chair Ian Goodnow, who several times...

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Recount underway for tight WSESD board race

After a very close March 5 race for the two three-year school director seats for Brattleboro representative, a recount has been initiated for votes cast for those two seats. The three candidates, and the number of votes each candidate has unofficially received from the four member towns of the Windham Southeast School District - Brattleboro, Dummerston, Guilford, and Putney - are Tim Maciel, with 1,677 votes; Colleen Savage, 1,661 votes; and Rich Leavy, 1,659 votes. Leavy confirmed he submitted a...

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From battles about ballots to decisions about dates

Following is a roundup of Town Meeting news that came too late for last week's edition of The Commons. Most towns held their annual meetings on Town Meeting Day on Tuesday, March 5. Athens • One seat for school director that has been open for several years remains open after the Annual Town Election, with nine people having received one write-in vote each. Election would require a minimum of three votes. • Voters approved the proposed $643,357 general budget by...

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Third appeal denied for housing project in Putney

State Superior Court Judge Thomas S. Durkin has denied a third appeal to stop the Windham & Windsor Housing Trust (WWHT) from proceeding with its Alice Holway Drive community housing project. The development has been planned since 2019 as two new buildings intended to provide 25 mixed-income, energy-efficient, and accessible apartments on the 0.91-acre site in Putney Village next to Putney Community Gardens. In their appeal, neighbors to the site Laura Campbell and Deborah Lazar contended the Trust's lots are...

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