MARLBORO — The Marlboro School Board has sent a letter to Marlboro voters explaining several reductions to tax rates stemming from actions beyond our control which happened after we published the Town Report.
Because Marlboro has always voted on the school budget via floor vote at Town Meeting and this year the vote will be by Australian Ballot with no possibility to discuss and debate in public, we feel that voters need and deserve this updated info in order to make informed choices on the mail-in ballots.
Based on the newest information, the education tax rate for Marlboro will go down by about 14 percent, from $1.99 to $1.70. The Town Report showed an estimated education tax rate of $1.80, so the new numbers further lower the tax rate in favor of the taxpayer. Marlboro's proposed school expenditures per pupil are down about 7 percent.
There are two primary reasons for this reduction in tax rate, both of which happened in the last few weeks: our education spending per equalized pupil has gone down more that previously estimated because the state yield figure went up (slightly), and our common level of appraisal changed from last year, which further reduces the local education tax rate.
The Marlboro School Board continues to lobby the Vermont Legislature to correct the way that state aid to education is distributed. The Legislature completed a study of this issue more than a year ago, with the resulting report recommending a concrete set of changes to the formula.
Most of the poorer and more rural schools throughout Vermont have been negatively affected by the current formula, and there is good reason to make changes quickly. This has not happened, leaving many schools, including Marlboro, to make the difficult choice to reduce the budget in order to get to a tax rate that voters will support.
We intend to keep working at the state level to get a more-equitable formula in place for supporting schools throughout Vermont.