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Bloated school budget

To the editor: In looking over next years budget request for the Mary Hogan Elementary School (ID 4), I cant help but notice that if the Middlebury voters approve this budget, our property taxes will increase by more than 8 percent. For many Middlebury taxpayers, this means paying hundreds of dollars more next year in property taxes. I also noticed that Mary Hogan is asking to spend over $5.6 million to educate 380 elementary school children. Of that, over $5.1 million comes directly from the taxpayers. This amount equals $13,574 per student. It doesnt take much research to learn that over the last six years, the schools student population has dropped by 23 percent, during which time the school has continually increased spending each year. We are now one of the most expensive schools in the state of Vermont, which is the third most expensive state in the country. I think we need to ask ourselves how many more years we can afford to allow these increases to continue unabated. Surely, any elementary school that spends more per student than the vast majority of elementary, middle, and even high schools in this country can find somewhere in its budget to tighten its belt without affecting the educational programs. We need to ask the school board to level out the spending and to be aware of the huge impact the continual increases have on Middlebury property taxes. Claire Adams, Middlebury

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