Education Commissioner Responds to Budget

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Vermont’s new Commissioner of Education, Ray McNulty, says he does not agree with Governor Howard Dean’s decision to level fund state aid to education next year.

During his budget address yesterday afternoon, Dean proposed no increase in the student block grant under Act 60.

Speaking [Tuesday] night on Switchboard, Commissioner McNulty said Act 60 calls for an inflationary increase in the block grant and commissioner says it is a commitment that the state needs to keep:

(McNulty) “One of things that Act 60 has brought with it, and is essential tool for our local boards of education in the state of Vermont, is not just the equity component but a predictability component. Predictability is essential for our local school boards in the planning for effective budgeting for each year¿. That’s why in [Act 60] there was a particular benchmark focused on the governmental services price index, and I do support that. I do believe we need to continue to focus on that particular component. I know the State Board believes very strongly in it.”

McNulty says the cost of boosting the block grant to reflect inflationary pressures would be about $10 million in the next fiscal year.

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