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Introduced by   Committee on Education


Subject:  Education; school reports; deposit of school revenues; cumulative price index; powers of the electorate; powers of the school board; average daily membership; union school district auditor; elementary tuition; tuition overcharge or undercharge; calculated net cost per pupil; technical tuition; regional advisory boards; annual school reports; placement of a student with a disability; adjusted education payment; statewide average district spending

Statement of purpose:  This bill proposes to modify some procedures established under Act 60 that need to be changed to work with new processes established since the passage of Act 60.  Specifically, the bill proposes to establish that school district revenues may be deposited following either receipt of funds from the state or receipt of funds from taxpayers; establish that technical education tuition payments are not included in calculated net cost per pupil, and that technical tuition is paid by the school district and not by the state; eliminate a requirement that each school reports annually on expenditure of funds due to increases in student counts for students in poverty or for students who use English as a second language; establish that a school district receives an adjusted education payment based on its budget and not on the number of pupils; and establish that statewide average district spending to be reported annually does not include spending for capital construction.  In addition, this bill proposes to authorize the commissioner to provide school district data for annual school reports when school level data are not available; coordinate sections of statute so that the same Cumulative Price Index amount is used for computation of various increases; clarify that a school district electorate authorizes a spending amount, and the school board determines how the funds shall be expended; reflect the fact that a school district collects data regarding student census and does not calculate average daily membership; clarify that a school district may lease personal property and real property for a short time without a vote of the electorate; give union school districts the same authority as town school districts to hire an accountant in lieu of an auditor; establish that elementary schools shall follow the same procedures as high schools following a tuition overcharge or undercharge; establish that elementary tuition to an independent school shall be the lesser of the average announced tuition of union elementary schools or the tuition charged; require a receiving school district to inform the sending district of any tuition overcharge or undercharge by a date certain; remove a requirement that for tuition purposes the pupil in “calculated net cost per pupil” is an ADM and authorize the commissioner of education to define pupil for purposes of the calculation; ensure that in a technical center service region that does not have a regional advisory board, the alternate governing body has authority to make certain recommendations; and stipulate that a school district must comply with a court order regarding placement of a student with disabilities.


It is hereby enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Vermont:

Sec. 1.  16 V.S.A. § 165(a)(2)(K) is amended to read:

(K)  data provided by the commissioner which enable a comparison with other schools, or school districts if school level data are not available, for cost-effectiveness.  The commissioner shall establish which data are to be included pursuant to this subdivision and, notwithstanding that the other elements of the report are to be presented in a format selected by the school board, shall develop a common format to be used by each school in presenting the data to community members.  The commissioner shall provide the most recent data available to each school no later than October 1 of each year. Data to be presented may include student-to-teacher ratio, administrator-to-student ratio, administrator-to-teacher ratio, and cost per pupil, cost per square foot of building, class sizes, course offerings, and other performance data.

Sec. 2.  16 V.S.A. § 426(a) is amended to read:

(a)  The town treasurer shall be treasurer of the town school district unless, by vote of the town school district a town school district treasurer is elected. He or she shall keep in a separate bank account all the money appropriated or given for the use of the school district.  Within 20 days after the date the school taxes become due and payable or within such other period of time as may be agreed upon in writing by both the board of selectmen and the board of school directors, he or she shall deposit in the school account, payments of the school tax levy received.  However, if notification of the amount to be transferred to the school district by the commissioner has not been received within 20 days of the date taxes are due and payable, the transfer shall be effected within 20 days of notification by the commissioner.

Sec. 3.  16 V.S.A. § 559(e)(7) is amended to read:

(7)  nothing in this section shall require a school board or supervisory union board to invite or advertise for bids if it is renewing a contract entered into pursuant to subsection (a) of this section provided that annual costs will not increase more than the most recent Cumulative Price Index, as of December 1 November 15, for state and local government purchases of goods and services, the total amount of the contract does not exceed an increase of 30 percent more than the total amount of the original contract, and the contract for the renewal period allows termination.

Sec. 4.  16 V.S.A. § 562(8) is amended to read:

(8)  Shall vote authorize at each annual school district meeting a sum of money necessary an amount of money from all revenue sources to be expended by the board for the support of public schools; and the board shall determine how the voted funds shall be expended;

Sec. 5.  16 V.S.A. § 563(17) is amended to read:

(17)  Shall employ a public accountant at least once in each period of three years to audit the financial statements of the school district and the average daily membership count student census information submitted by the district to the department of education under subdivisions 4001(1)(A) and (B) of this title.  However, if the town has voted to eliminate the office of auditor under section 2651b of Title 17, the school board shall employ a public accountant annually to audit the financial statements of the school district and the average daily membership count pursuant to that section.  The school board may authorize an audit in conjunction with another school district or a supervisory union.

Sec. 6.  16 V.S.A. § 563(27) is added to read:

(27)  May lease personal property and may lease real property for three years or less.

Sec. 7.  16 V.S.A. § 706m is amended to read:

(a)  The terms of office of directors and auditors shall be three years after the first term and of all other officers one year.  At the first annual meeting one auditor shall be elected for a term of one year, one auditor for a term of two years, and one for a term of three years, or until their successors are chosen and qualified.

(b)  At any annual or special meeting warned for the purpose, the electorate may vote to eliminate the office of auditor and to employ instead a public accountant annually to audit the financial statements and the student census information of the union school district.

Sec. 8.  16 V.S.A. § 823 is amended to read:


(a)  Tuition for elementary pupils shall be paid by the district in which the pupil is a resident.  The tuition paid to a public elementary school shall be at a rate not greater than the calculated net cost per elementary pupil in average daily membership in the receiving school district for the year of attendance The district shall pay the full tuition charged its students attending a public elementary school.  However, if a payment made to a public elementary school is three percent more or less than the calculated net cost per elementary pupil in the receiving school district for the year of attendance, the district shall be reimbursed, credited, or refunded pursuant to section 836 of this title, unless otherwise agreed to by the boards of both the receiving and sending districts.

(b)  The tuition paid to an approved independent elementary school shall not exceed the lesser of:  (1) the average announced tuition of Vermont union elementary schools for the year of attendance; or (2) the tuition charged by the public elementary independent school attended by the greatest number of the district’s pupils.  However, the electorate of a school district may authorize the payment of a higher amount at an annual or special meeting warned for the purpose.

Sec. 9.  16 V.S.A. § 824(b) is amended to read:

(b)  Except as otherwise provided for technical students, the district shall pay the full tuition charged its pupils attending a public high school in Vermont or an adjoining state, or a public or independent school in Vermont functioning as an approved area technical center, or an independent school meeting school quality standards.  However, if a payment made to a public high school or an independent school meeting school quality standards is three percent more or less than the calculated net cost per secondary pupil in average daily membership in the receiving school district for the year of attendance then the district shall be reimbursed, credited, or refunded pursuant to section 836 of this title, unless otherwise agreed to by the boards of both the receiving and sending districts or independent schools.

Sec. 10.  16 V.S.A. § 825(a) is amended to read:

(a)  Calculated net cost per pupil for purposes of this chapter shall be defined by the commissioner.  Expenditures shall include those for equipment and school building construction, additions or renovations.  Expenditures excluded shall be:

(1)  Transportation costs incurred by the receiving school district for its resident pupils;

(2)  Transportation costs for which the receiving school district receives reimbursement;

(3)  That portion of the total cost which is provided by direct grants from state or federal sources for salaries or other specific expenses;

(4)  Expenditures for maintenance, and payments of principal and interest for buildings used exclusively for boarding students if any;

(5)  Expenditures for special education;

(6)  Tuition payments for technical education.

Sec. 11.  16 V.S.A. § 836(a) is amended to read:

(a)  Annually, on or before November 1, the commissioner shall inform each school board of a receiving public school, each board of trustees of a receiving approved independent school for which the commissioner has calculated a net cost per pupil, and each sending school district in Vermont of the calculated net cost per elementary or secondary pupil in the receiving schools.  Each school board or board of trustees of a receiving school shall then determine whether it overcharged or undercharged any sending district for tuition charges and shall notify the district by December 15 of the amount due or the amount to be refunded or credited.

Sec. 12.  16 V.S.A. § 1552(c) is amended to read:

(c)  For students from a school district within Vermont, funds received under subsections subsection 1561(b) and (c) of this title shall be subtracted when calculating the tuition charge.  For students who are not Vermont residents, funds received under subsections 1561(b) and (c) of this title shall not be subtracted when calculating the tuition charge.

Sec. 13.  16 V.S.A. § 1561(a) is amended to read:

(a)  For the purpose of reducing the amount of tuition charged to Vermont residents under section 1552 of this title, technical centers shall receive assistance as provided in this section.  In this section,:

(1)  “Student” means a Vermont secondary student without a diploma regardless of age and regardless of whether the student is enrolled in a high school in Vermont; and

(2)  “Full-time equivalent student” means the average of a Vermont school district’s three prior years’ full-time equivalent enrollment of students in the technical center.

Sec. 14.  16 V.S.A. § 1593 is amended to read:


A secondary technical student may be enrolled in postsecondary technical courses at the expense of the student’s school district of residence if the enrollment is accepted by the postsecondary institution and approved by the district of residence as being in the best interests of the student, and if the enrollment is approved for credit toward high school graduation requirements.  The school board awarding graduation credits shall consider the recommendation of the regional advisory board, regional technical center school district board, or any other authorized alternate governing board and shall provide an opportunity for the secondary student also to receive postsecondary credit.

Sec. 15.  16 V.S.A. § 2904 is amended to read:

§ 2904.  REPORTS

Annually, each superintendent shall report to the commissioner in a form prescribed by the commissioner, on the status of the educational support systems in each school in the supervisory union.  The report shall describe the services and supports that are a part of the education support system, how they are funded, and how building the capacity of the educational support system has been addressed in the school action plans.  The report shall include a description and justification of how the following funds were used:

(1)  as required under subsection 2959a(e) of this title, the supervisory union used funds received due to Medicaid reimbursement;

(2)  for a school district required to provide learning readiness experiences for preschool age children or early reading and math experiences for school age children pursuant to subsection 4011(d) of this title, funds attributable to an increase in student count due to the poverty ratio of the district and the number of students with limited English proficiency.

Sec. 16.  16 V.S.A. § 2957(e) is amended to read:

(e)  Except as provided in 20 U.S.C. § 1412(a)(10)(C) or unless a court or hearing officer determines otherwise, where a unilateral placement has been made without the school district of residence being offered a reasonable opportunity to evaluate the child and to develop an individualized education plan, reimbursement may not be sought for any costs incurred before the school district is offered such an opportunity.

Sec. 17.  16 V.S.A. § 3741 is amended to read:


Each town district shall provide, furnish, maintain, and control schoolhouses suitable for schools under the provisions of this title.  When so authorized by the town district, the board of school directors shall have power to lease or purchase buildings or sites for schoolhouses, locate and erect schoolhouses, and sell or otherwise dispose of schoolhouses or sites for same.  However, a school board may enter into a lease for buildings, sites for schoolhouses, or other real property for up to three years without authorization of the town district.  A school district which issues bonded debt to pay for capital construction costs under this section is authorized under the provisions of sections 428 and 511 of this title to levy ad valorem taxes on the grand list to pay for debt service therefor as it becomes due and payable, and shall do so unless otherwise payable from other sources.

Sec. 18.  16 V.S.A. § 4011(a), (c), and (h) are amended to read:

(a)  Annually, the general assembly shall appropriate funds to pay for an adjusted education payment for each equalized pupil statewide education spending and a portion of a base education payment for each adult diploma student and student or client in the adult education and literacy program.

(c)  Annually, each school district shall receive an adjusted education spending payment for support of education costs.  Funds distributed under this section shall be allocated on the basis of the equalized pupils in each school district, except for unorganized towns and gores.  An unorganized town or gore shall receive an amount equal to its adjusted education payment for that year for each student based on the weighted average daily membership count which shall not be equalized.  If the district’s adjusted education payment is less than the base education payment, then in fiscal years 2005 and 2006 only, the district shall receive its education spending per equalized pupil plus 40 percent of the excess of the base education payment over the district’s adjusted education payment, but only for deposit in a district’s education reserve fund, authorized in accord with section 2804 of Title 24, for expenditure on legitimate items of education expense.  In fiscal years 2007 and after, no district shall receive more than its education spending amount.

(h)  Annually, by October 1, the commissioner shall send to school boards for inclusion in town reports and publish on the department website the following information:

(1)  the statewide average district spending, minus the portion of spending which is approved school capital construction spending, per equalized pupil for the current fiscal year, and 125 percent of that average spending; and

(2)  a statewide comparison of student-teacher ratios among schools which are similar in number of students and number of grades.

Published by:

The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street
Montpelier, Vermont