Two more school budget revote elections took place this week. How did residents vote?

Five Chittenden County towns were back at the polls on Tuesday, voting whether or not to pass their school budgets. The Champlain Valley School District and the Milton Town School District held a second votes on April 16 after their school budgets failed to pass on Town Meeting Day in March.

The two districts hoped voters would accept a lower budget − CVSD cut $5 million and Milton cut $500,000 for their second offer to voters. This year, education property taxes were increasing by as much as 30% due to rising education costs, a change in the education formula set by the state and significant property value increases.

A decorated VW bug encourages Williston and other residents of the Champlain Valley School District to pass the school budget on the second round of voting on Tuesday, April 16, 2024. Vermont's largest school district serving the towns of Charlotte, Hinesburg, Shelburne, St. George and Williston held its first revote in history in the wake of soaring education property taxes.

CVSD and Milton school budget revote results

The results from Tuesday's elections were mixed. CVSD's second round budget passed, but Milton's failed.

CVSD is the state's largest school district in terms of student population and represents the towns of Charlotte, Hinesburg, Shelburne, St. George and Williston. Since the district's consolidation in 2017, a school budget had not failed until this year. On April 16 voters passed the $101,801,185 budget in a vote of 4,358 to 2,947. This budget is a 5.8% increase in education spending from the current year and means a property tax increase − at its highest − of 18% for Hinesburg, which was formerly looking at a 29.9% increase in taxes.

Milton, on the other hand, must revisit budget revisions once again. The budget of $36,672,099 was defeated with 1,114 voting no and 635 voting yes. Superintendent Amy Rex noted that turnout was low compared to the first vote and the margin was even wider between no and yes votes in the second round despite lowering the budget by a half million. She said the 5.3% increase in spending was due to faculty cost-of-living salary and insurance increases and otherwise the budget was level to the current year. She said the town of Milton reappraised property values 18 months ago, so the rise in property values was unexpected and further drove up education property taxes.

A sign in a Williston neighborhood encourages voters to pass the Champlain Valley School District budget during a revote on April 16, 2024.
A sign in a Williston neighborhood encourages voters to pass the Champlain Valley School District budget during a revote on April 16, 2024.

Third time a charm? Which budgets move to a second and third round of voting

Milton, like South Burlington, is now faced with having to modify the budget again and put it to voters for a third time, all before the next fiscal year begins July 1. The time frame is a tight one for districts seeking community input to guide revisions and meet the minimum number of days an election must be warned before a vote.

In South Burlington's case, the district has enough time for two more votes, Superintendent Violet Nichols said at an April 10 school board meeting. Due to the city's charter the district must "diligently pursue" a budget approval once two failed votes have occurred. However, there are no stipulations about how many elections to hold. If there is no budget in place by July 1, the school board could borrow funds amounting up to 87% of the current year's budget. As of April 10, the district was considering May 7, 14 or 23 for a third vote and was still soliciting feedback from the public for revisions.

The Essex Westford School District is preparing for its second vote after their school budget failed on April 9. In a note to community members on April 15, the district tentatively scheduled the second vote for May 7. At that time the district was taking feedback from the community via an online survey to understand what factors led to residents voting no to the first budget proposal.

Contact reporter April Barton at or 802-660-1854. Follow her on X, formerly known as Twitter, @aprildbarton.

This article originally appeared on Burlington Free Press: Champlain Valley and Milton districts take revote school budgets.