Saturday January 5, 2013

BENNINGTON -- The Southwest Vermont Career Development Center school board unanimously approved a fiscal year 2014 budget Thursday that shows a 3 percent, or nearly $100,000, increase.

The approved $3,428,000 budget went unchanged since the board reviewed it in December, but the tuition increase is actually lower than anticipated in December because of new information from the state.

Since the board last met the state released official student enrollment numbers, also called full time equivalent (FTE), that were higher than the district anticipated. Next school year tuition to sending schools will increase about 3.8 percent, or $450, from $11,710 to $12,160. In December the board expected it would be looking at an 8 percent tuition increase but the higher FTE figures translated to mean next year's tuition rate will be $500 less than the board expected in December, according to Chairman Jim Boutin.

Technical centers in Vermont calculate FTEs on a three-year rolling average.

Including the 3 percent increase for next year's budget, Business Manager Greg Lewis said last month the technical center's budget has averaged an increase of just 1.78 percent annually since fiscal year 2010.

Increases to the budget include $57,000 in employee benefits due to a 14 percent health insurance rate increase, $45,000 to add a technology position, and $26,000 in the "building maintenance" section of the budget largely due to benefit increases. There is also a $9,000 increase in the business office for new disaster recovery software, $10,000 for utilities, and $6,000 for supplies.

Some of the increases are offset by the CDC's fund balance, which is up $23,000.

-- Dawson Raspuzzi