How to Fund Public Education in Vermont

In my earlier post, The Challenges of Public School Funding: Part 2, I wrote about how our current property-tax based education funding system works in Vermont. This legislative session, there have been two ideas floated about how to change our funding system from property-tax based to income-tax based. I’ve spoken in two Ward 5 candidate forums (Ward 5 NPA and Channel 17 – link coming) about issues that have been highlighted by policy analysts with switching to an income-tax based model. Today, Paul Cillo, President and Executive Director of the Public Assets Institute, a Vermont nonprofit that conducts research and fiscal analysis, disseminates information, and develops and advances policies that state government can enact on a variety of topic areas including healthcare, taxes, education, and family economic security, issued a letter to the House Ways and Means Committee.

The House Ways and Means Committee has been working on the issue of education funding this session but has not released a detailed proposal of what the new system may look like. Based on the information available, Paul Cillo submitted this letter (PDF) outlining concerns and commentary, which were summarized with this statement: “Based on our analysis of the currently available information, we conclude that the proposal under consideration in the committee does not advance these principles better than the existing system. In fact, we believe it would set the system back.”

This is an issue we all need to keep a close eye on. I will do my best to keep you all updated here on my website.

Thank you!