Roll Call: House redistributes ed funding, prepares tax relocation and skips overhaul

Editor’s note: Roll Call is published by the Ethan Allen Institute.

S.287, an act relating to improving student equity by adjusting the school funding formula and providing education quality and funding oversight (Till Amendment), passed in the State House of Representatives on April 28, 2022 by a vote of 132-11.

Purpose: The purpose of this vote was to make education funding more equitable across Vermont school districts.

Beginning in F2025, Vermont school districts will receive more state funding if they have:

1. Low population density
2. Schools with fewer than 250 students, and more funding if those schools have fewer than 100 students
3. A greater proportion of students in poverty (185% of the Federal Poverty Level)
4. A greater proportion of students learning English as a second language
5. A greater proportion of older students

Residents in towns with more of these factors than the average Vermont school district will pay less in taxes, while residents in towns with fewer of these factors will pay more in taxes. Any town’s annual rate increase is capped at 5%, forcing the Education Fund to make up the difference. The JFO says the impact is “unclear,” but they estimate the policy as costing the Education Fund $17 million in F2025 before reaching near zero in F2029-30, as the tax increases stabilize. Property tax rates would need to be adjusted throughout the process.

The JFO estimates a $605,000 cost to the General Fund in F2023, which would go toward creating a universal income declaration form, hiring 2 bureaucrats at the Vermont Agency of Education for implementing the transition, and additional education fund studies.

Analysis: Those voting YES wanted to maintain local control over school budgets while making funding across the state more equitable, in order to give all Vermont students a quality education. The updated formula will help school districts provide better services to students in poverty, low-density rural areas and who are learning English as a second language.

Those voting NO saw S.287 as a lost opportunity to more thoroughly address Vermont’s flawed education funding system, which will continue to raise property taxes every year to support higher education spending, as the number of Vermont students shrinks. They may also have been concerned that S.287 would raise their constituents’ taxes.

As Recorded in the House Journal, Thursday, April 28, 2022: “…Pending the question, Shall the bill pass in concurrence with proposal of amendment?, Rep. Toof of St. Albans Town demanded the Yeas and Nays, which demand was sustained by the Constitutional number. The Clerk proceeded to call the roll and the question, Shall the bill pass in concurrence with proposal of amendment?, was decided in the affirmative. Yeas, 132. Nays, 11.” (Read the Journal, p. 1343 – 1345).

Watch the floor debate on YouTube, Part 1 and Part 2.

HOW THEY VOTED

Sally Achey (R – Middletown Springs) – YES
Janet Ancel (D – Calais) – YES
Peter Anthony (D – Barre City) – YES
Norman Arrison (D – Weathersfield) – YES
Sarita Austin (D – Colchester) – YES
John Bartholomew (D – Hartland) – YES
Scott Beck (R – St. Johnsbury) – YES
Matthew Birong (D – Vergennes) – YES
Alyssa Black (D – Essex) – YES
Tiffany Bluemle (D – Burlington) – YES
Thomas Bock (D – Chester) – YES
Seth Bongartz (D – Manchester) – YES
Michelle Bos-Lun (D – Westminster) – YES
Erin Brady (D – Williston) – YES
Patrick Brennan (R – Colchester) – YES
Timothy Briglin (D – Thetford) – YES
Jana Brown (D – Richmond) – YES
Nelson Brownell (D – Pownal) – YES
Jessica Brumsted (D – Shelburne) – YES
Thomas Burditt (R – West Rutland) – YES
Mollie Burke (P/D – Brattleboro) – YES
Elizabeth Burrows (P/D – West Windsor) – YES
Scott Campbell (D – St. Johnsbury) – YES
Bill Canfield (R – Fair Haven) – YES
Seth Chase (D – Colchester) – YES
Kevin “Coach” Christie (D – Hartford) – ABSENT
Brian Cina (P/D – Burlington) – YES
Sara Coffey (D – Guilford) – YES
Selene Colburn (P/D – Burlington) – YES
Hal Colston (D – Winooski) – YES
Peter Conlon (D – Cornwall) – YES
Sarah Copeland-Hanzas (D – Bradford) – YES
Timothy Corcoran (D – Bennington) – YES
Mari Cordes (D/P – Lincoln) – YES
Lawrence Cupoli (R – Rutland City) – YES
Lynn Dickinson (R – St. Albans Town) – NO
Karen Dolan (D – Essex) – YES
Kari Dolan (D – Waitsfield) – YES
Anne Donahue (R – Northfield) – NO
Kate Donnally (D – Hyde Park) – YES
David Durfee (D – Shaftsbury) – YES
Caleb Elder (D – Starksboro) – YES
Alice Emmons (D – Springfield) – YES
Peter Fagan (R – Rutland City) – YES
Martha Feltus (R – Lyndon) – YES
John Gannon (D – Wilmington) – YES
Rey Garofano (D – Essex) – YES
Leslie Goldman (D – Bellows Falls) – YES
Kenneth Goslant (R – Northfield) – YES
Maxine Grad (D – Moretown) – YES
Rodney Graham (R – Williamstown) – YES
James Gregoire (R – Fairfield) – YES
Lisa Hango (R – Berkshire) – YES
James Harrison (R – Chittenden) – NO
Robert Helm (R – Fair Haven) – NO
Mark Higley (R – Lowell) – YES
Robert Hooper (D – Burlington) – YES
Mary Hooper (D – Montpelier) – YES
Philip Hooper (D – Randolph) – YES
Lori Houghton (D – Essex) – YES
Mary Howard (D – Rutland) – YES
Kathleen James (D – Manchester) – YES
Stephanie Jerome (D – Brandon) – YES
Kimberly Jessup (D – Middlesex) – YES
John Kascenska (R – Burke) – YES
John Killacky (D – S. Burlington) – YES
Charles Kimbell (D – Woodstock) – YES
Warren Kitzmiller (D – Montpelier) – ABSENT
Emilie Kornheiser (D – Brattleboro) – YES
Jill Krowinski (D – Burlington) – PRESIDING
Larry Labor (R – Morgan) – YES
Robert LaClair (R – Barre) – NO
Martin LaLonde (D – S. Burlington) – YES
Diane Lanpher (D – Vergennes) – YES
Wayne LaRoche (R – Franklin) – YES
Paul Lefebvre (R – Newark) – YES
Samantha Lefebvre (R – Orange) – YES
Felisha Leffler (R – Enosburgh) – NO
William Lippert (D – Hinesburg) – YES
Emily Long (D – Newfane) – YES
Michael Marcotte (R – Coventry) – YES
Marcia Martel (R – Waterford) – YES
James Masland (D – Thetford) – YES
Christopher Mattos (R – Milton) – YES
Michael McCarthy (D – St. Albans City) – YES
Curtis McCormack (D – Burlington) – YES
Patricia McCoy (R – Poultney) – YES
James McCullough (D – Williston) – YES
Francis McFaun (R – Barre Town) – YES
Leland Morgan (R – Milton) – YES
Michael Morgan (R – Milton) – YES
Kristi Morris (D – Springfield) – YES
Mary Morrissey (R – Bennington) – YES
Michael Mrowicki (D – Putney) – YES
Emma Mulvaney-Stanak (D – Burlington) – YES
Barbara Murphy (I – Fairfax) – YES
Logan Nicoll (D – Ludlow) – YES
Michael Nigro (D – Bennington) – YES
Robert Norris (R – Sheldon) – YES
Terry Norris (I – Shoreham) – YES
William Notte (D – Rutland) – ABSENT
Daniel Noyes (D – Wolcott) – YES
John O’Brien (D – Tunbridge) – YES
Carol Ode (D – Burlington) – YES
“Woody” Page (R – Newport City) – NO
Kelly Pajala (I – Londonderry) – YES
John Palasik (R – Milton) – ABSENT
Joseph Parsons (R – Newbury) – YES
Carolyn Partridge (D – Windham) – YES
Avram Patt (D – Worcester) – YES
Henry Pearl (D – Danville) – YES
Arthur Peterson (R – Clarendon) – NO
Ann Pugh (D – S. Burlington) – YES
Barbara Rachelson (D/P – Burlington) – YES
Lucy Rogers (D – Waterville) – YES
Carl Rosenquist (R – Georgia) – NO
Larry Satcowitz (D – Randolph) – YES
Robin Scheu (D – Middlebury) – YES
Heidi Scheuermann (R – Stowe) – NO
Charles “Butch” Shaw (R – Pittsford) – YES
Amy Sheldon (D – Middlebury) – YES
Laura Sibilia (I – Dover) – YES
Katherine Sims (D – Craftsbury) – YES
Taylor Small (P/D – Winooski) – YES
Brian Smith (R – Derby) – YES
Harvey Smith (R – New Haven) – ABSENT
Trevor Squirrell (D – Underhill) – YES
Gabrielle Stebbins (D – Burlington) – YES
Thomas Stevens (D – Waterbury) – YES
Vicki Strong (R – Albany) – YES
Linda Joy Sullivan (D – Dorset) – YES
Heather Suprenant (D – Barnard) – YES
Curt Taylor (D – Colchester) – YES
Thomas Terenzini (R – Rutland Town) – ABSENT
George Till (D – Jericho) – YES
Tristan Toleno (D – Brattleboro) – YES
Casey Toof (R – St. Albans Town) – NO
Maida Townsend (D – S. Burlington) – YES
Joseph “Chip” Troiano (D – Stannard) – YES
Tanya Vyhovsky (P/D – Essex) – YES
Matt Walker (R – Swanton) – YES
Tommy Walz (D – Barre City) – YES
Kathryn Webb (D – Shelburne) – YES
Kirk White (P/D – Bethel) – YES
Rebecca White (D – Hartford) – YES
Dane Whitman (D – Bennington) – YES
Terri Lynn Williams (R – Granby) – YES
Theresa Wood (D – Waterbury) – YES
David Yacovone (D – Morristown) – YES
Michael Yantachka (D – Charlotte) –YES

Image courtesy of Public domain
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