Tuesday, March 25, 2014

WVTK Local & State News March 25, 2014

The vote was right down party lines, but the House Appropriations Committee is recommending what it thinks should be done in the next fiscal year with the budget. The committee is working off the governor’s proposed budget, which they had to cut down a bit. The revised proposal finally did pass yesterday after a vote of seven to four, with all four “no” votes coming from the four Republicans on the panel. It now goes to the full House of Representatives for debate.

Many Vermont communities are considering what they call painful cuts, including laying off teachers. On Town Meeting Day dozens of school budgets failed; the most in more than ten years. Now, the challenge is finding where to cut. The Ferrisburgh Central School board decided to ask Addison Northwest Supervisory Union to come back at its April 10 meeting with a lower budget proposal to put before town voters. The budget proposed on Town Meeting Day called for an 11 percent increase.

The Monkton Central School board will be holding a special meeting to hear from the public and discuss whether or not to renew the contract of the school’s principal. About half of the teachers at the school left at the end of the last school year and some say that is because of the climate at the school. One parent spoke up at a recent meeting saying there was misinformation surrounding the departure of the nine faculty members. She pointed out that of that number, two teachers retired, two part-time faculty left for full-time jobs elsewhere, and some moved to take jobs out of state.

A bill up for debate in the Vermont House today would end the in-state tuition break for UVM graduate students. Current law requires that Vermont resident students in all but the College of Medicine at UVM pay no more than 40 percent of the tuition charged to students from out-of-state. Cynthia Belliveau, Dean of Continuing and Distance Education, says the school needs to shrink the differential so it can reduce the cost of its online graduate and certificate courses.

Neither side says it’s about to budge in the Chittenden County Transportation Authority bus drivers’ strike. Yesterday marked the start of Week Two of the strike, which leaves an average of 92-hundred passengers daily looking for another way to work or school. Both the union and management said it’s up to the other side to make a move, and so far neither has done so.

Shoppers got quite the scare yesterday at the Burlington Town Center Mall. At around 6 PM a group of boys were walking when they got into a confrontation with a man in his 20’s. The man then appeared to pull out a gun and aimed it. That’s when everyone started running and the suspect took off on foot. Burlington Police arrived on the scene and questioned some witnesses. No arrests were made. Investigators say do not believe the public is in any danger.