Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Hunt PTO Update, 5/7/14

Welcome to May!

Important memo from the front office:


Please remember to check out the Hunt MAY newsletter for details on the many learning opportunities offered to your child during the school day (and beyond!)

Read more about the 8th grade ceremony and recognition program, updates from teams Odyssey, Oasis, Solstice & Phoenix; the most recent Hunt Paws prints awards, updates from the Music Department, a camp opportunity through the Winooski Valley Park District and much, more more!
Upcoming Hunt Spring Concerts 
  • Band concert - 7 pm, Wednesday, May 14th
  • Orchestra concert - 7 pm, Wednesday, May 21st 
  • Chorus concert - 7 pm, Wednesday, May 28th  
Please come out to support our talented  Hunt musicians!

Mark your calendars for the 5th Annual Plant and Yard Sale, held at Hunt Middle School on Saturday, May 24th, from 8:30a.m.-2:00p.m.

In order to have a successful plant sale, we will need donations of perennial plants and divisions. Please consider donating your extra garden plants starting this week. Be sure to water your plants well and leave them in a box, bag or container in the grassy area between the parking lots at Hunt. Please contact or 777-2076, to let her know you have dropped off your plants so that she can be sure a volunteer re-pots your donation right away.

On Friday, May 23rd, we will be accepting yard sale donations after school in the Hunt Cafeteria. We will gratefully accept all household items, games, sporting goods, kids and teen books, clothing, kitchen items, and holiday trinkets but please be sure the all donations are in good working condition. The generosity and support of the community last year made this a very successful and fun event, even in the rain! Please contact the Hunt PTO with any questions about donations or volunteer opportunities or contact Gabi at 

Hunt PTO Meeting - Thursday, May 15th, 6:30pm in the library.  This will be the last PTO meeting of the schoolyear.  It is never too late to get involved ...  Guest Speaker, Barb Prine from Burlington Friends of Education will join us to talk about the upcoming budget vote (lots of budget info included below)  The meeting agenda is included at the end of this post.

Hunt students well represented
in this year's VCM event!

Be sure to fill the streets of Burlington to CHEER ON the many Hunt students (and graduates...and soon-to-be Hunt students) participating in this year's Vermont City Marathon marathon relay!  Once again Hunt Middle School will be fielding a couple of relay teams whose 6th - 8th  grade members have been training diligently with Ms. Chayer.  If you are out on the course and catch a glimpse of these students racing by, be sure to show your Hunt PRIDE and let them know they are absolute rock stars for running!

Students running this year:

Lucas B.  (9th grader running 1/2 marathon; Hunt grad)

5-person relay team members (two teams entered:)

Ent F.
Jackson E.
Aidan T.
Leona B.
Grace E.
Meghan L.
Chris G.
Eamon L.
Som D.
Brynn A.

5 person team consisting of future, current and past Hunt students:

Davis J. - incoming 6th grader

Wondu S. - current 6th grader
Seamus B - current 7th grader
Abdi B - 9th grader; Hunt grad
Patrick B - 9th grader; Hunt grad 

Go 2014 Hunt runners!  Have a GREAT race!

Close Up Washington Prepares for their 2015 Trip

First meeting May 27th

For the third year, Hunt is bringing students to our nation’s capital through the Close Up Washington program.  During this five day/four night trip, students will participate in educational workshops while visiting an array of historic and political sites in Washington D.C.  This complements the middle school civics curriculum and helps develop leadership skills among our students. 

Spring Break of 2015

Informational Meeting:
Now is the time to start planning and fundraising for this trip.  An informational meeting will be held on Tuesday, May 27th at 6 pm in the Hunt Library.

 Mr. Gagnon at

Vote YES on June 3, 2014

Burlington’s children need your vote!

The BFOE messaging committee has worked very hard to produce the following information to inform members of our community.  While it is lengthy, you are strongly encouraged to read the entire document.  It includes frequently asked questions, talking points, and provides valuable information to help you understand what is at stake when voters go the polls on June 3.  In addition, please visit the following sites, including a revamped BFOE website, to get the latest current information about the school budget.
On June 3, Burlington voters have a chance to say YES to a school budget that supports our children and YES to a new era of leadership that supports our desire to see greater fiscal oversight, leadership reform, and accountability to voters.
Since March, the newly-elected school board members have taken swift action and shown they are committed to fiscal oversight, leadership reform, and budget transparency.
They’ve done the hard work, and now it’s our turn to show our support for their efforts and vote YES to a responsible, transparent budget. The new board has cut $2.5 million in staff and services to bring you this new budget — a budget that spends less in the coming year than we did last year.
A YES vote keeps devastating cuts out of the classroom and away from our kids.
What exactly am I being asked to support?
The Facts: The new, proposed budget is $67.4 million, which, although it's higher than the proposed budget in March, is a decrease from the $67.8 million spent in FY 14. That’s less money, and is what voters asked for after the March vote. So, Vote YES to Spend Less.
This budget pays off a nearly $1.5 million deficit, and also includes $2.5 million in cuts and $1 million in new revenues – equalling a real $1.5 million cut. In March the local spending portion of the budget (that which is not controlled by Montpelier) was a 3.1% increase. This budget is a 2.4% increase. That’s real savings.
The taxes will also be lower because the state legislature is considering decreasing its portion from the 7% proposed in the March budget to 4-6%.
The new Board’s work in the last month is a down payment of good faith that they are ushering in a new era in the district and we, as voters, should give them a chance to continue their work without the distraction of making additional, painful cuts to core programs and initiatives. If not, well, the entire Board is up for re-election in 2015 due to redistricting. If they haven’t kept our word, then that election can serve as a referendum on the Board’s performance.

What was cut in this budget?
The new budget includes a net total of $1.5 million in cuts – that’s $2.5 million in cuts, and then $1 million in new revenue.
These are real cuts, not some “savings” and will impact every school in the district and touch nearly every classroom. They include:
  • $261,000 in unspecified non-classroom expenses
  • 20 para-educator positions ($500,000);
  • 3 Spanish teachers elementary- and middle-school level ($240,000);
  • Several Burlington high school teachers ($300,000);
  • $120,000 in subsidies for students’ bus fare;
  • $150,000 in professional development programs;
  • $100,000 in professional services;
  • $220,000 by making a 1.5 percent cut across seven different areas of the budget; and,
  • Elimination of police officers in the schools.

What budget cuts could happen happen if this budget fails?
Then we would default to a budget that is roughly $800,000 less than this one. The board has already cut $2.5 million from the budget, focusing as much as possible on cuts that did not affect the classroom.
More cuts could result in the loss of:
  • Additional classroom teachers;
  • Additional paraeducators;
  • Additional academic coaches;
  • Additional athletic programs;
  • Subsidized transportation; and,
  • English Language Learning educators.
Increased classroom sizes, which negatively affects the quality of education, would be also on the table. Burlington already has classroom sizes that are larger than other districts in the county, and more than the statewide average.

If you vote yes on this budget, this is what your increase:
If your house is valued at $200,000, your increase would be $186. If your house is valued at $300,000, the increase would be $279.
  • If the budget fails, you will still see an increase. That is because of increases in the statewide property taxes.
  • On a house valued at $200,000, the increase would be $142.
  • On a house valued at $300,000, the increase would be $213.
* These calculations assume that the state legislature will increase taxes by 4%. The final amount is still being determined and could be anywhere from 4-6%.
Why do you keep hearing about $43?
The bulk of the tax increase is coming from Montpelier, so taxes go up whether we vote yes on June 3rd or not.
  • If you have a $200,000 house, you’ll only pay $43 more per year ($4 a month) than you will if the budget fails.
  • If your house is $300,000, your increase will be $66 ($5.50 a month).
We believe that $43/year is a FAIR amount to pay to keep potentially disastrous cuts out of the classroom and away from our children.

We have much to celebrate about our school system, including:
  • High graduation and college placement rates;
  • Growing enrollment across the district in contrast to statewide trends;
  • Lower per-pupil spending than similar-size districts;
  • Average teacher salaries when compared countywide;
  • Larger classroom sizes than surrounding schools, and above the statewide average;
  • Innovative learning- 1:1 Technology Initiative;
  • Partnership for Change;
  • Nationally recognized magnet school successes in achievement and equity;
  • Low administrative overhead when compared countywide; and,
  • Meeting the new world challenges of equity, diversity, and accessibility.

There is tax relief for people who can’t afford an increase
Yes, roughly 3 out of 5 Burlington homeowners receive a tax break on their school taxes from the state, with an average payment of more than $1600 – or roughly $6 million a year.
These payments are made directly to the city and appear as a credit on your tax bill. If you’d like to know what your credit is, call the city assessor’s office at (802) 865-7114.

 I am shocked by some of the financial problems that have been exposed. What is the school board doing to fix this mess?
In the last few weeks since these issues have come to light the school board has worked quickly and intensively to fully understand the financial challenges facing the district and to take action to address them. The school board has:
  • Created a F15 budget that REDUCES spending from F14 levels and is designed to avoid further deficit spending.
  • Begun to create and implement tighter financial management and spending controls that will include:
    • an audit of personnel resources and greater oversight on hiring decisions
    • updated processes for approving and overseeing expenditures
    • a more robust system of checks and balances for payroll and other expenditures, and
    • auditing and updating all current financial controls
  • Taken a more active role in overseeing administrative decisions regarding spending and financial planning, ensuring that decisions are fully explained and detailed background documentation is available to the Board and the Public.
  • Established a joint cost control committee with members of the School Board and City Council to determine potential cost savings through economies of scale, consolidation and efficiencies.
  • Secured Mayor Miro Weinberger’s support to develop a plan in which City financial expertise can be used to assist the School District through this critical transition period.
The new Board can’t dig the district out of nearly a decade of problems in just a few months. These initial, and important, steps are a show of good faith that they’ve heard the call from voters. This is the start of a a multi-year process to get the district fully on its financial feet.
That’s why Burlington Friends of Education is saying … Vote YES to Clean up the Mess!

We got by with far fewer services when I was a kid. Why do we need all these extra stuff, like academic coaches?
Our education system has changed a great deal over the past few decades, and school systems are now mandated to provide more services than they were when you were young.
A recent is example is the introduction of the Common Core curriculum, which will require training and coaching of teachers to master. Academic coaches help teachers stay abreast of the latest curriculum developments and best practices in each subject area and play a key role in ensuring quality education.
For example, our award-winning food system provides 6000 meals a day to our children. Of those meals, 60 percent of children being served are coming to school hungry, and have limited, or no, access to food at home.
At the same time, the federal government has cut $1.5 million from the district’s budget in recent years to provide mandated services to low-income children and children with special needs. These cuts came as a result of federal budget cuts, and the recent federal budget sequestration, and those costs are being passed along to local taxpayers.

An invite from the Hunt administration to YOU...

Parent Coffee

Principal/Parent Coffee

Friday, May 30th, 2014, 8:10am to 8:55am

Have coffee or tea with our Principals. Tell us what's on your mind. Let us know what's working or what's not working. Ask questions or just chat and relax with us in our library. 
Friday, May 30th, 8:10am.

Save the Date!
  • May 9th - 4th Quarter Progress Report grades close
  • May 14th -   Band concert, 7 pm
  • May 21st -  Orchestra concert, 7 pm
  • May 28th - Chorus concert, 7 pm
  • May 15 - PTO Meeting - Library at 6:30pm - Please join us!!!
  • May 16th - 4th Quarter Progress Reports go home
  • May 24th - Perennial Plant Sale and School Wide Yard Sale, 8:30 am - 2 pm
  • May 26th - Memorial Day - No School
  • May 27th - Close Up Informational meeting on trip to Washington, 6 pm
  • May 30th - Coffee with the Principals
  • June 3rd - School budget re-Vote - Please VOTE 
  • June 6 - 8th grade trip to Great Escape
  • June 10 - Early Release grades 6, 7
  • June 10 - 8th grade graduation - 1pm
  • June 10 - 8th Grade Dance
  • June 11 - Last day for grades 6,7 - early release

L.C. Hunt
(Parent Teacher Organiation)

2013-14 PTO Board

President: Kate Belluche
Treasurer: Brian Pine
Secretary: Currently Vacant
Fundraising: Gabi Baumann
Communications: Siobhan Donegan
Teacher Rep: Rotating
Principal: Rich Amato

Meetings: 3rd Thursday of each month at 6:30pm in the Library 


May PTO Meeting
5/15/14, 6:30 pm

  • Welcome and Introductions
  • Volunteer secretary for May meeting
What’s on your mind?  Questions?  Comments?  Concerns?
  • Leadership for next year
  • Treasurer’s report - 5 min –Brian Pine
  • Principal’s Corner – 10 min - Rich Amato
  • Fundraising Update  - 10 minutes – Gabi Baumann
  • Staff Appreciation – May 28 – Special Snack set up by 1:45 – Goodies for staff needed!!!!
  • Hunt Sign Update– what’s left to do? how/what to post?  How decided?
  • Team/UA/Misc Grant Update – 5 min- Kate Belluche
-Summercamps $1000, Garden $1500, Great Escape ~$500, Afterschool Sports $3000, Student Council ???, other?
  • Burlington Friends of Education – School Budget
  • Blog –Possible Improvements – Susan Rutherford

Next Meeting:  Thursday, 9/18/14,  6:30-8pm

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