Guest Column: Bennington School District, approve Article C


The voters of the Bennington School District, Inc. will be asked in Article C of the school district ballot to support a bond of $4,461,000. The Board and community have discussed for years the need to either upgrade the energy systems within the three elementary schools or build a new, consolidated school. In struggling to balance the budget during difficult economic times, the Board determined a new school is unaffordable and unanimously agreed to upgrade its schools. The proceeds from the bond will install: High Efficient Boilers, Digital HVAC Controls, Updated Ventilation Systems, Insulation, Energy Efficient LED Lighting, and Double Pane Windows; all of which will result in healthier, quieter, more comfortable, environments conducive to learning, while consuming less energy and decreasing maintenance costs.

Some of the current equipment is more than forty years old and ultimately will need replacing. Not supporting Article C will require the district to upgrade equipment over a long period of time, risking emergency spending and forgoing immediate energy savings, which will cause unpredictable, tax rate spikes. Supporting Article C allows the district to proactively replace this equipment over the summer with a predictable impact on future tax rates.

With these upgrades the district is projected to save $150,000 in energy and maintenance expenses and receive over $24,000 in rebates from Efficiency Vermont next year. After the initial bond interest payment, the projected net savings will create a surplus of over $80,000, which by law will be used to reduce taxes.

Supporting Article C will have no impact on your November 2016 tax bill. Starting in 2017, the net cost of these upgrades will add $12.61 in taxes on a $100,000 assessed home and will decrease annually over the life of the bond. The district and taxpayers will continue to realize energy savings long after the bond has been paid.

The District asks for your support of Article C.

Please join us at our annual Floor Meeting for an informational hearing on this project at the Bennington Firehouse on River Street., Feb. 29 at 6:45 p.m.

— Board of Directors, Bennington School District, Inc.


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