Report Shares Strategic Plan Update, Key Budget Information
Burlington School District’s (BSD) 2019 Annual Report is here! The report on the 2018-19 school year highlights a number of student and staff achievements, shares an update on BSD’s strategic plan initiatives, and provides a look into the District’s financial management and proposed budget for next school year. The report can found at locations throughout the city or be accessed online at https://www.bsdvt.org/district/superintendent/school-assessments-data/
“I want to invite the community to dig into this report and celebrate with us,” said BSD Superintendent Obeng. “With a continued focus on our strategic plan initiatives, Burlington School District is on the right track towards addressing and closing the achievement gaps that exist in our District while raising the bar for all students.”
The District’s three strategic plan focus areas are Inclusive Teaching and Learning; Equitable Climate and Culture; and Sustainable Finance and Facilities. In the report, Obeng specifically highlights key work being done to achieve success in these areas:
“In the area of “Sustainable Finance and Facilities,” we operated with a budget surplus for the fifth consecutive year and continued to work towards addressing our capital plan needs. In the area of “Equitable Climate and Culture,” we spent time analyzing our previous year’s climate survey data and began making recommendations to improve relationships and safety in our District. We dedicated the entire year’s professional learning focus in the District to Restorative Practices (RP). Our District Safety Team researched Vermont Agency of Education (AOE) endorsed “Options-based Response Protocols”…
We also added gender-neutral changing facilities at Burlington High School (BHS) and expanded the number of accessible playground options at Sustainability Academy and Flynn Elementary. For our goals under “Inclusive Teaching and Learning,” our Afterschool Program completed a pilot in partnership with UVM to connect English Learners (EL) with UVM students studying cultural and linguistic literacy. We also received an AOE Career Pathways Implementation Grant and founded the Future Planning Lab, a program that provides assistance to our growing number of EL students in the application for college, financial aid, and employment. And we launched “Burlington City and Lake Semester” at BHS, a class held outside the walls of BHS in downtown Burlington, offering hands-on learning within the city. Finally, we successfully implemented the Kansas Coaching Model in all K-8 Schools, and hired our first Achievement Gap Lead and first Data Manager to ensure we are equitably serving all.”
The 2019 Annual Report also offers a look into the District’s demographics (BSD represent 45 different home languages), community partners (more than 60 on the District-level alone), and student support services (serving 723 students with Individualized Education Plans).
Burlington residents will also be pleased to see a detailed summary of the proposed budget for next school year, alongside a multi-year budget comparison dating back to fiscal year 2018, school tax comparison rates for Chittenden County and more. The budget information is published annually to allow Burlington residents to better understand how the District uses their tax dollars in anticipation of Town Meeting Day.
“I hope that Burlington voters can dig into this document and use the information to make an educated and informed decision when then they vote on March 3rd,” said Obeng.
In addition to being available online, hard copies of the report are also available free of charge at:
- BSD Central Office (150 Colchester Ave.)
- All BSD Schools
- Fletcher Free Library
- Burlington Department of Public Works
- The Miller Center
- Burlington City Hall
Join the Journey! Burlington School District (BSD) is a pre-k-12 public school system of about 4,000 students in Burlington, VT. BSD’s mission is to graduate students who: value different cultures, engage with the community, communicate effectively, think creatively, skillfully solve problems, and achieve at their highest academic, intellectual, and personal potential.
Last month, BSD’s School Board unanimously approved a proposed budget for next school year. Entering into our budget planning, we knew that the District’s baseline budget was predicted to go up $3.5 million without adding any new programming. Our projections showed that a budget increase of $3.5 million would have resulted in a 10.5% tax increase. The Board and I knew we needed to bring that tax impact down and we worked closely to do so.
Because of careful financial management over the past five years, we were able to use a $1.3 million surplus to bring the tax impact down to 8.5%. Our District leadership then went line-by-line to identify additional savings and the Board also made suggestions. Ultimately, the Board voted to make more than $1 million of reductions, which allowed us to add a few key investments while still bringing the estimated tax rate increase down to 7.36% for property payers and 3.18% for income payers.
In addition, we have begun to pay back debt associated with our voter-approved capital plan. Thank you for supporting the plan, Burlington, and thank you to everyone who attended our recent Ribbon Cutting on the Edmunds Campus which demonstrates how your tax dollars are being spent in the service of our students.
Don’t forget to vote on March 3rd!
Join the Journey,
School Board Approves Second BSD School to Fly Flag
Burlington, VT Edmunds Middle School (EMS) will soon become the second school in Burlington School District (BSD to fly a Black Lives Matter flag. On November 12, students from the middle school’s Youth Participatory Action Research (YPAR) Collective presented a proposal to the school board, requesting they be allowed to fly the Black Lives Matter flag at the school.
“The YPAR Collective feels strongly that Edmunds Middle School should stand in solidarity with Burlington High School, South Burlington High School, Montpelier High School, and other schools committed to raising the Black Lives Matter flag,” said Edmunds student Anyier Manyok.
“Students of color make up 28% of the Edmunds Middle School community,” added Henry Tornwini. “Flying the BLM flag not only recognizes students of color but also creates opportunities for the community to engage in important discussions about why it is important to publicly recognize that black lives matter.”
The proposal asked that beginning in Spring 2020 the EMS BLM flag be raised each year during Black History Month and that it remains flown until summer vacation, and that the “EMS community continue this practice until the day that marginalized students and their allies agree that there is no longer a need to bring attention to systemic issues that disproportionately harm students of color.”
The proposal passed unanimously.
During the proposal, students also presented data collected with the support of the University of Vermont Researchers. They noted:
- 36% of students agree that EMS students engage in racial discrimination. White and Black students equally agreed on this question.
- 47% of Black students agree that students are discriminating against other students based on race.
- Roughly 1/3 of White students and 1/3 of Black students agree that EMS teachers engage in racial discrimination.
“These data present a serious need for actions around making sure that students of color can feel welcome, safe, and valued within the EMS community,” said Tornwini.
“Tonight’s approval by the board is evidence of the incredible work the YPAR Collective has done towards racial equity in our school and community,” said EMS Principal Megan McDonough. “I am so happy to see that the board has listened to our students and is responsive to our school community’s needs, and I am grateful to our student leaders for representing themselves and our school community so positively.”
“This was a completely student-led, student-organized initiative that had them look at both quantitative and qualitative data, and I am just happy to be part of the team,” noted Jeremy DeMink, EMS teacher and YPAR advisor.
“I find myself once again extremely proud of Burlington School District students,” said Superintendent Obeng. “It takes selfless courage to advocate for an inclusive space that will primarily be to the benefit of our future students. Thank you to these students for stepping up and being heard, and for leading the way. And thank you to our staff at Edmunds as well as our board and our partners at UVM for supporting our students in this endeavor. These students are making their school and our community a better place.”
The YPAR Collective will plan to hold a flag-raising ceremony this February.