BENNINGTON — The proposed Mount Anthony Union School budget will be level funded for the 2024 fiscal year. The third draft of the budget was presented to the MAU board on Jan. 18 and, although the budget is only a draft and is subject to change, the school is only facing a .05 percent increase — a total of about $14,000.
The level budget comes despite the major increase of 34.75 percent, or about $656,000, in the operations budget. The large increase occurred due to an increase in the contracted janitorial service, as well as rising fuel and bus maintenance costs.
The equipment and assessment budget lines, showing reductions, helped balance the operations increase.
Money originally meant to pay for the school’s vacant technology positions in the equipment budget was allocated to the Southwest Vermont Supervisory Union to be used on district-wide initiatives. That line saw a 25.4 percent decrease, totaling about $61,000.
The major player in holding down proposed spending is the school’s assessment budget. This is a recent change, as this line was level funded at more than $5 million in the first draft of the budget.
Since then, the estimated budget for school assessments has decreased 30.81 percent or $1.6 million.
Director of Finance Renée Gordon said this decrease “really swings the pendulum” away from a possible 7 percent budget increase, adding that’s “just the way it worked out this year.”
In this final draft, the budget total is at $28,629,524 for the upcoming year. That reflects a $14,397 or .05 percent increase from the 2023 fiscal year.
The budget now goes before voters on Town Meeting Day, March 7.