The Bennington School District’s Board of Directors would like the community’s support when voting on our budget on May 6, 2014.

The Board has spent many hours with the Chief Financial Officer, Buildings and Grounds Director and school Principals looking for areas we can reduce.

Our budget increase is 2.34 percent increase from this year’s budget. We spend less per student than most others in the state. This budget basically is level funded. Much like a household we have fixed costs that we have no control over.

Our class sizes in each of our three facilities are averaging 20 students per classroom. Each year we look carefully at our class sizes and combine grade levels for combination classes rather than adding additional teachers while keeping reasonable numbers of students in each class.

The Bennington School District Board of Directors feel that this is the most responsible budget that we can put forth to the voters. We truly understand the fiscal restraints of the community we live and pay taxes in. Our budget balances the needs of our students and an increasing student population in our schools.

Please vote on May 6 and we hope you vote to approve our budget.

Thank you,

BENNINGTON SCHOOL DISTRICT BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Ken Swierad, Chairman;

George Sleeman, Vice Chair;

Jackie Prue, Clerk; Paul Becker,

Marie DeCoff, Jackie Kelly, Gene Rowley

Bennington

People here are amazing

I’d like to share a recent experience my son and I had with Keith Ellis at Manchester Power House and how it reinforces the happiness I feel living in Vermont again.


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Jacob is a soon-to-be 12 year old boy who inherited a lawnmower from his now-deceased grandfather. He wishes nothing more than to have his own business and make some money. His lawnmower needed a bag, blade and some other part I still don’t know the name of. He did lots of research on the web to find out where he could get these items and how much they would cost and badgered me endlessly to either order them or take him somewhere to get them. We happened to be in Manchester one Sunday and I so I took Jacob to the Manchester Power House.

We were enthusiastically greeted by Keith Ellis who spent about an hour and a half with us showing us around and answering every one of Jacob’s questions. Sensing Jacob’s need to leave his store with items in-hand, Keith scrounged around for a bag to fit Jacob’s lawnmower as well as a blade, but did explain the other part needed to be ordered. When it was time to leave, I asked Keith how much I owed him. He responded, "Jacob has an account here now -- I’m sure he’ll pay me once he starts working."

When we got in the car, Jacob said, "I will only ever go to this store for lawnmowers (and leaf blowers and snow blowers and whatever else I’m sure he’ll think he needs) as long as I live."

I have told this story to many people I have encountered because it truly epitomizes why Vermont is such an incredible place to live: People here are amazing. Keith treated Jacob with kindness and respect, and when so many in this world don’t act like this, we need to recognize and thank those that make a huge difference by just being!

LISA BENDIK

Shaftsbury