Our Schools: Our Future

Phase One of the Master Plan and Vision for the Future

After consulting with City leaders and the City Finance Board, the Burlington School Board reconsidered its proposal to ask the City Council for a ballot item in the amount of $226 million. At its monthly meeting on September 9, 2008, the Burlington School Board voted 12-2 to ask the City Council instead to put a $92 million bond for school renovation and improvement on the November 4 general election ballot. The language approved by the Board reads as follows:

Shall the City Council be authorized to issue general obligation bonds or notes in an amount not to exceed Ninety-Two Million, One Hundred Seventy-Seven Thousand, Five Hundred and Seventy-Seven and 42/100 ($92,177,577.42) Dollars over a five-year period in a phased approach, pending annual review and analysis of the City’s borrowing capacity and bond rating in conjunction with the City Finance Board, the purpose of which is to implement Phase One of the Burlington School District’s Master Plan and Visioning Process by performing critical repairs, implementing cost-effective and environmentally-responsible facilities improvements, providing comprehensive handicapped accessibility, upgrading learning environments and programs, implementing school changes to improve District equity, and creating vibrant neighborhood community centers at the following District Schools:

  • Edmunds Middle School;
  • Hunt Middle School;
  • Edmunds Elementary School;
  • Integrated Arts Academy at H.O. Wheeler Elementary School; and
  • Sustainability Academy at Lawrence S. Barnes Elementary School.

The parking garage at the Edmunds complex shall not be constructed unless the cost of the garage is significantly shared by partners such that the cost to Burlington taxpayers is no more than $4 million. In addition, savings shall be strenuously sought throughout the design and construction process.

The proposed maximum $92,177,577.42 bond issue will be reduced by any and all revenues and/or contributions received from the State of Vermont, the Federal government, and private sources in aid of construction, which shall be vigorously sought now and in the future.

Additional information about the Board’s Master Plan and the proposals for the specific schools can be found on BSDPlan.com. The website also contains an extensive list of meetings and events that Board members will be attending to explain the specifics of the Master Plan.

A Master Plan and Vision for the Future

On August 28, 2008, the Burlington School Board voted to propose a 10-year, $226 million dollar bond to promote equity and educational excellence in the Burlington schools. If approved by the voters, the initiative will:

  • Perform critical repairs to the City’s schools to ensure the safety and health of students, staff, and community members;
  • Implement cost-effective and environmentally-responsible facilities improvements that will result in on-going energy savings and long-term sustainability;
  • Provide comprehensive handicapped accessibility;
  • Upgrade learning environments and programs to prepare students for the challenges and opportunities of the future including enriched math, arts, technology, and science curriculum;
  • Implement school changes that will ensure that every Burlington child has an equal opportunity to reach his or her potential; and
  • Maintain our schools as a vibrant neighborhood community centers that connect multiple generations and strengthen the social fabric of our city.

The Board’s resolution ended with the commitment that “The proposed maximum $226,159,520.00 bond issue will be reduced by any and all revenues and/or contributions received from the State of Vermont, the Federal government, and private sources in aid of construction, which shall be vigorously sought now and in the future.”

The Board has set up a new website, BSDPlan.com, to provide information about the proposal and to answer frequently-asked questions. In an effort to insure the widest possible distribution of information, I am providing links to some of the materials presented to the Board, or that the Board has prepared about this proposal.

Please note that this is the personal website of a single School Board member, and not an official publication of either the District or the Board. All comments and opinions are the sole responsibility of Frederick Lane and not that of the Burlington School Board or the Burlington School District.

PowerPoint Presentations

The Board has prepared a PowerPoint presentation that outlines the history of the visioning process, the reasons behind the Board’s proposal, and a building-by-building description of the proposed work. The Board will be presenting this PowerPoint at a large number of different venues over the next 60 days. In the interim, you can download a PDF of the PowerPoint by clicking on the following link:

Please be patient; the PDF is quite large [approximately 28 Mb].

Additional Materials

I will post additional materials as they become available, or provide links to the materials on the Board’s site at BSDPlan.com.

  • 9 September 2008 — Ward 5 School Commissioner Amy Werbel’s open letter to friends and colleagues who have worked on the District’s Equity and Excellence Initiative.

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