FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
News from the Vermont Democratic Party
Friday, May 15, 2020
Amid Health Crisis, Republican Governor Phil Scott Tries (Again) to Force School Budget Revote
MONTPELIER, VT -- Vermont’s Republican Governor, Phil Scott, has informed legislators of a plan to force School Districts to revise and revote on their budgets for the next fiscal year, Scott’s second attempt at this failed tactic since taking office. This dangerous and irresponsible plan drew quick and fervent criticism from the state’s elected officials, education leaders, and others.
Democratic Senator Phil Baruth:
“The first genuinely dumb idea that the administration has put forward during the Covid emergency. And now with voting fraught as it is, to be suggesting that everybody go back, even though they’ve successfully settled the issue of their budget, that they go back and revote I just think is a dumb idea” (Reported by VTDigger)
Democratic Representative Kate Webb:
“The concept of sending voters back to revote budgets sounds like, instead of stabilizing, contributes to even more chaos.” (Reported by VTDigger)
Vermont Democratic Party Chair Terje Anderson:
“Republican Governor Phil Scott is pushing a deeply cynical and misguided plan to use the COVID-19 crisis to force school districts to scrap budgets approved by voters just two months ago.
“He is hoping that -- in the confusion and uncertainty of the current crisis -- he will force voters to make drastic cuts this summer before we have a full picture of what the fiscal situation will be, before we know what amount of federal aid will be available to schools, and at a time when it is likely that the demands on schools will be greatly increased because of the crisis.
“We've seen this movie before from Scott: When he first became Governor in 2017, he shocked the legislature and the state with a sudden demand that the legislature change timing of school budget votes, and that school boards be forced to rewrite and dramatically cut their already developed budgets -- expecting the legislature to act on it on a ridiculously tight timeframe. And, like this recent proposal, it would have ignored existing legal barriers, usurped carefully negotiated labor contracts, forcing districts to implement sudden unplanned cuts in funding, personnel and programs.
“It is telling that -- just like his failed 2017 effort to slash education -- the Scott administration dropped this out of the blue on the legislature and schools with no effort to engage in consultations or shared decision-making ahead of time. And no effort to work with legislators, school boards, or other stakeholders to identify other ways of approaching the potential shortfall in education funding, no efforts to seek other solutions.”
Democratic Representative Kitty Toll:
"Are we really going to hear the voice of voters in this time that we're working in now, with social distancing and trying to hold meetings remotely and getting questions answered? How would all this information get out to voters and how would we ensure that their voices are actually heard, if we can't hold a town meeting in a school gymnasium with 300 or 400 people?" (Reported by Seven Days)
Democratic Representative Janet Ancel:
Seven Days: “Proposing to take money from schools as they are asked to navigate this new and uncertain world ‘is just unacceptable,’ she said.”
NEA President Don Tinney:
“The logistics don’t make sense to me. Our students are going to need more resources than ever before.” (Reported by VTDigger)
“This is what Republican Phil Scott has tried to do from his first days as Governor -- undercut funding for our schools, undercut local control, attack school teachers and public employees, and cheat students out of educational resources they deserve,” said party spokesperson R. Christopher Di Mezzo. “Only this time, he’s trying to use an international health crisis as political cover to carry out his anti-education agenda.”
R. Christopher Di Mezzo
Director of Communications, Spokesperson