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The legislation, S.14, requires an estimated 2,600 education, state and municipal employees who aren’t union members to pay fees of up to 85 percent of yearly union dues.
Lawmakers make school lunch program free for all eligible students.
The only provision in H.538 that is expected to have a concrete impact on school spending is a change to the excess spending threshold.
Senate President Pro-Tem John Campbell, D-Windsor, said he prioritized H.538 because property tax payers “need relief.”
H.270 requires school districts to pay for at least 10 hours per week of pre-Kindergarten education for 35 weeks a year. About 40 towns do not offer publicly funded pre-K.
A proposal that would give providers the right to unionize was voted out of Senate Education on Friday.
Shumlin: “I think we’re on the right track. If it takes us a year or two to settle every part of it, you know, I’m hoping that Vermonters aren’t going to fire me this week.”
After the Ways and Means Committee approved two amendments, Chair Janet Ancel, D-Calais, concluded, “I feel like we’ve gotten to a reasonable meeting point, so that nobody loves it.”
As Republicans are beholden to the wishes of small town educators and taxpayers, Democrats can not ignore the interests of the education establishment, including Vermont’s chapter of the National Education Association.
H.538 puts stricter penalties in place for excess spending and whittles away at a number of quirks in the education finance system, which traditionally have softened the impact of spending on tax rates for some districts.