The total cost of Vermont’s Education is estimated at $1.7 billion for the next school year. It is the amount needed to run Vermont’s public pre-K through grade 12 schools for FY2020-2021, and is the state’s largest fund. Where does all that money go?
The Legislative Joint Fiscal office and the Agency of Education each have groups of people dedicated to keeping track of Education Fund dollars. They make sure there is enough money to cover school costs and make sure the money goes where intended.
The largest outflow from the Education Fund is the $1.438 billion needed to fund the voter approved school budgets. These budgets are directly under control of the voters in each town. It is the legislature’s job to set the statewide property tax rate at an amount that will raise what the voters have approved.
Another large piece of the Education Fund is the money needed to fund programs for children with special education needs. Next year this amount is estimated at $213 million. Much of this money comes from the federal government, because the mandates for these students are federal law.
Education costs for state placed students is approximately $18 million. Many of these students are in the state’s foster care program.
Transportation aid to schools is approximately $19 million.
Aid to Technical schools runs nearly $18 million and is available to all students in the state .
Small schools across the state get $8.4 million and Early Essential Education receives $6.8 million. Flexible Pathways is the program which allows advancing high school students to take college courses and is paid out of the Education Fund. It is estimated at nearly $8 million for next year.
Costs to the Education Fund for Teachers’ Pensions will be about $7 million. Additional money flows into the pension fund from the the General Fund and other sources. My understanding of the $7 million is that the goal is eventually to get all of the pensions paid by the Education Fund, so the $7 million will grow to a much larger figure in future years.
This is a simple listing of outflows from the state of Vermont Education Fund, but please remember that nothing about the Ed Fund is simple.