Tuesday May 14, 2013

I am writing this letter in support of The Bennington School Districts Budget to be voted on May 21. I believe one of the most important things a community has to do is to educate their children. Education is costly in a small state such as Vermont.

The BSD Board has worked extremely hard to reduce the budget they proposed in March from a 19 percent increase to a 13.91percent increase. They have worked with their administrators and others to put forth this budget. The board has looked at every line item and weighed its benefit to education and our responsibilities to our students, parents and the community.

We were able to reduce the budget because we now have more accurate information on state aid, cost of health insurance, and a reduction of assessment from the SVSU Budget. The budget we ask you to support on May 21 is a 13.91 percent increase over last year's budget. Believe me folks this is a bare bones budget. We have a decrease in federal funding, Grants have dried up and we have an increase in needs of our special needs population.

The board has no control of these costs. We cannot raise funds privately. We can not decide not to educate our students. We are a public school. More and more mandates are placed on public education by state and federal government every year.

You wonder now what will this increase cost you. On a $100,000 assessed home the increase will be $69.90 on your taxes, on a $200,000 assessed home it will increase by $139.60.

It is up to each of you to make the decision on whether you can or cannot support the Bennington School District's Budget.

If a budget is not approved by June 30, the BSD will be forced by law to operate on a budget of 87 percent of last year's budget. If this happens many teachers, support staff and others will be laid off. Our class sizes will rise dramatically, after school programs will probably be cancelled altogether, music, art, instrumental and chorus will be drastically cut if not eliminated.

So again, it's your choice. Please support the Bennington School District's Budget on May 21 and vote YES. If you have questions concerning the budget please attend our May 20, meeting at the Bennington Fire House at 6:30 p.m.

It takes a community to raise a child; it also takes a community to educate a child. Thank you.

JACKIE PRUE

BSD board member

Bennington

Response to Banner article

I would like to respond to the Banner Article: "Two Bennington massage businesses targeted for human trafficking, prostitution"

You may not know, but Vermont has no regulation for Massage Therapists, and is the last of three states that are not regulated. That means anyone can be a Massage Therapist in Vermont, with no training! After reading this article, it shows us the need for regulation. Why do you think they set up shop in Vermont in the first place? New York State has the strictest regulatory process in the United States, so this makes Vermont a safe haven for this type of activity. It also puts a black eye on the massage practice as a whole. As a Licensed Massage Therapist, I have helped many locals, from high school athletes, professional teams, and many others who needed therapeutic massage. Insurance companies will never pay for massage therapy in Vermont and rightly so until it is regulated. Vermont-let's get with the 21st century and get massage therapy regulated!

RICHARD SAGER

Licensed Massage Therapist

Bennington