Rivendell Interstate school district click for home

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Wednesday, February 24, 2021



Click here to download the Budget and Voting Information Mailer

Long Term Financial Goals: The school board worked with administrators to develop a budget that meets current educational needs while working towards the following long-term goals: 1. Address high cost/pupil, 2. Reduce tax burden, 3. Achieve financial stability.

Key Cost Savings: Reduced staffingReduced administrative costs, Reduced food service costs, Renegotiated transportation contract.

Increased Revenue Sources: Licensed afterschool & summer program, Expanded Expedition Classroom, Aggressive pursuit of federal, state, and private grants.

After School and Summer Programs: These programs were cut last year due to COVID restrictions and budget constraints. The proposed budget restores these programs, taking advantage of our new administrative team’s extensive experience with building high quality programs that meet student needs, generate revenue, and improve educational outcomes. As we recover from the pandemic, these programs will be critical to helping children and their families get back on track.

Expedition Classrooms: When a student’s needs cannot be met within the district, Rivendell is required to pay tuition to educate the student in a different setting, often at considerable expense. By creating an Expedition Classroom, Rivendell keeps some of these students in-house, saving money, improving outcomes, and allowing Rivendell to recruit tuition-paying students from other districts. The proposed budget expands this successful program from one to two classrooms.

Debt Service: When Rivendell first formed, the district borrowed $11.2 million for renovations and new construction. Starting in 2025 the district will see a reduction in annual costs as these loans begin to be retired.

Finances: Rivendell closed out FY20 in the black and received a clean bill of financial health from the external auditors. The auditor presenting the report went out of his way to explain how unusual it was to see a school district with so few issues. This was good news after a year spent cleaning up budgeting errors from previous administrators and investing hundreds of hours converting to the new financial control software. As part of the first wave of Vermont school districts to complete this process, Rivendell is now benefiting from tighter budgetary control and more efficient reporting.

Health Insurance: Health Insurance continues to be the biggest driver of budget increases. Premiums went up 9.8% this year for a total of 68% over the past 5 years.

COVID Relief: Rivendell received over $100,000 in the first round of federal funding to reimburse pandemic operating costs. While Rivendell’s existing commitments to technology, outdoor learning, and strong relationships with students and their families helped us shift to remote learning in the spring and to reopen schools in the fall, students have still suffered significant academic, social, and emotional losses. The proposed budget provides the necessary platform to efficiently direct the next round of funding towards educational recovery.

Total vs. Net Expenditures: While taxpayers vote on total expenditures, tax rates are based on net expenditures. The afterschool and summer programs and expedition classroom increase expenses but also generate revenue. The end result is a proposed 2.4% increase in net expenditures from the current school/fiscal year (FY21) to next year, FY22 (click here to see the graphic in the flyer).

Tax Rates: Net expenditures and the number of students residing in each state determine the tax rates. Vermont rates also depend on whether property sales within a town track above or below assessed values. This is the biggest cause for year-to-year fluctuation and is the reason Vershire and Fairlee taxes are increasing more this year.

Tax rates past five years and % increase FY21-22: (click here to see the graphic in the flyer).

Protect our poll workers – vote by mail: There will be no in-person annual meeting this year. Ballots will be mailed to each registered voter. If you do not receive your ballot by March 1st, or would like to register to vote, please contact your Town Clerk. Voted ballots must be received at your town office by 3pm March 16th. For those wishing to drop off their ballots or vote in person, polls will be open at Rivendell Academy 5-7pm March 16th.

More Information: www.rivendellschool.org Check out the website for up-to-date information including full budget details, voting procedures, and the annual report. Printed copies of the annual report are available at each town office. If you would like a copy mailed to you, send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by March 4th.

Information Sessions via Zoom

6:30 pm Tuesday Feb. 23, 2021
6:30 pm Tuesday March 9, 2021

Meetings will be recorded. For access to recordings and instructions on how to connect to the meeting visit www.rivendellschool.org or call 603-353-2170 x2136.

Annual Meeting Information

ANNUAL MEETING: Due to COVID restrictions, there will be no in-person meeting this year.

ANNUAL REPORT: This year’s annual report will be created to be more user friendly, economical, and practical. Our hope is that most community members will be able to access the report electronically on the local listservs and website. We will provide each town office with hard copies and mail hard copies to anyone who emails a request to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by March 4th.

VOTING: Voting on the budget and officers will be by Australian ballot. In the interest of keeping our poll-workers safe, we are once again encouraging everyone to vote by mail. Ballots will be mailed to each registered voter in an envelope labeled “Official Rivendell Ballot Enclosed.” If you do not receive your ballot by March 1st, please contact your Town Clerk. Voted ballots must be received at your town office by 3PM March 16th. For those desiring to vote in person or to drop off a ballot, polls will be open at Rivendell Academy 5-7PM on March 16th.

INFORMATION MEETINGS: There will be two information meetings held remotely via Zoom. This is your chance to learn about the budget, ask questions and offer comments. You can dial in on your phone or connect through the internet. 

  • 6:30PM Tuesday, March 9 

Sebrina Farnham - Learning Coach - Classroom Asst. Early Childhood Program

Phone: (802) 333 9755 Fax: (802) 333-9601 
Sebrina Farnham
214 School Street
Fairlee, Vermont 05045
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