Board proposes $16.9M budget

BRADFORD—Maybe a third time will be the charm.
The Oxbow Unified Union School District Board met last week to finalize a third proposal, trimming another $190,000 from the 2020-2021 budget, after voters rejected two previous versions.
The online audience continues to grow with every meeting held remotely, which is a plus, according to the board, which is searching for ways to reach constituents and share information. Last week’s meeting on Sept. 16 had 44 attendees who listened in, a number that has increased over time.
Board members have been grasping to find why voters have rejected the budgets.
Other than Bud Haas, a former school director at Bradford Elementary School, most feedback reported at the Sept. 9 meeting encouraged the current direction of the school system and its board of directors. This seemed to influence the thinking of the board as a whole and leave the essential outline of the budget intact.
Haas recommended holding a town meeting style vote rather than a ballot, a commitment by the board to have articles of agreement ready for the next annual meeting that would assure voters no schools would close, renaming the district immediately to clarify confusion on the “Oxbow” district, and admitting that moving the supervisory union offices to the Copeland building was a mistake. Haas also noted that one of the other forced merger districts in Vermont has been permitted to dissolve in a recent state board decision.

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