Thu 06-MAR-2014 Noon News Script
Governor Shumlin is promising to "redouble efforts" to improve the education funding system -- in response to school budget rejections on town meeting day. 35 communities said NO to proposed budgets -- the highest number of rejections since 2003. Many of those districts presented budgets requiring large property tax increases. The governor issued a statement saying -- "Vermonters are clearly frustrated by high spending, high property taxes, and the complexity of the statewide education funding system." Finding a fix won't be easy. But Burlington's superintendent -- who saw her budget rejected -- believes part of the answer lies in school consolidation.
((Jeanne Collins/Burlington Schools Supt.: "I'm not so sure that the funding system is what necessarily needs to be looked at as it is the governance system that needs to be looked at. Because we're funding very, very small schools at a high cost as opposed to larger districts, such as Burlington and Rutland. You know it's a lot of the larger districts that went down and yet the cost efficiencies are found in those larger districts.")) Lawmakers are again looking at school governance reform -- though numerous past efforts have failed. Others are calling for changes in the current funding system to include spending caps -- a reduction in the income sensitivity threshhold -- and a reduction in Vermont's smallest-in-the-nation student-teacher ratio.
Tonight at 6:00 -- Vermont Lt. Governor Phil Scott will join us live for his thoughts on the spree of school budget defeats -- and possible changes in the education funding system.
The company that provides bus service in the Burlington area is warning riders of a possible drivers strike next week. Unionized drivers for the Chittenden County Transportation Authority are threatening a work stoppage effective next Monday morning -- if a new contract is not reached by then. CCTA says if that happens -- most of its services would shut down.
((IN: 00:02:36 Bill Watterson/General Manager CCTA "certainly from our point of view we've always been ready willing and able to sit down and disucss matters. We've been very clear about what our priorities are in terms of finding a way to have more 40 hour jobs for our drivers, to have an effective way to have part-timers be a part of the solution to cover our peak hour work")) More negotiations are planned for Saturday. The main issue separating the two sides is the length of spilt shifts that drivers have to work.
The civil trial over Burlington Telecom's financial problems is over. It's now up to the judge to decide the outcome. Two citizens sued former chief admiistrative officer Jonathan Leopold over the illegal transfer of 17-million dollars in taxpayer funds to keep the struggling utility from collapsing. During the trial, Leopold admitted making the transfers, knowing he was in violation of B-T's license. He said it was necessary to keep the company afloat while seeking new financing.. The plaintiffs argue Leopold acted without authority and intentionally hid the transfers from the public The plaintiffs say that enable Mayor Bob Kiss to win re-election and Leopold to save his job. Judge Helen Toor heard the four day trial. She did not set a timetable for issueing her ruling.
A Vermont man has been sentenced to 33 months in prison for a fraudulent coupon scheme targeting baby-food companies. 44-year-old Jon Bilodeau of Rutland pleaded guilty in October after prosecutors say he tricked baby-food companies into honoring over 571-thousand dollars worth of coupons Bilodeau bought at discounted values at online auctions. Bilodeau is the owner of the Sweet Revival consignment store. He was also arrested last October on state charges of dealing in stolen property. Police say he paid a burglar two thousand dollars for about t 30-thousand dollars worth of stolen jewelry and electronics.
The Dalai Lama opened today's session of the Senate with the daily invocation. He was introduced by Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy -- the Senate's President Pro Tem. ((Sen. Patrick Leahy: (gavel bang) The Senate will be in order. The opening prayer will be offered by his holiness, the Dalai Lama.)) ((Dalai Lama: "Speak or act with a pure mind and happiness will follow you.")) Leahy is a long-time supporter of Tibet's quest for sovereinty from China. The Dalai Lama is the former leader of the Tibetan government in exile.
A triumphant return home for another local olympian -- snowboarder Alex Deibold of Manchester Center. He was back in Vermont for the first time since winning a bronze medal in snowboardcross last month in Sochi. And he was greeted by a throng of well-wishers and autograph-seekers at Bromley Mountain -- where he got his start snowboarding.
((1:17:25 the messages and the emails and people have been reaching out to me that I went to high school with, or went to middle school, my first grade teacher, people from the local community that just have told me how proud they are -- that support means so much more than I think people realize.")) The 23-year-old is not home for long. He's still competing on the world cup circuit -- and he already has his eyes set on another medal at the next Olympics.
Today: Just plain sunny Highs: 18 to 25 Wind: Light & variable Tonight: Clear skies Still cold Lows: 5 to -10 Wind: Becoming S 5 to 10 mph Friday: Mostly sunny Breezy & warmer Highs: 32 to 38 Wind: S 10 to 20 mph Extended: Saturday: AM snow showers Then gradual clearing Lows: 15 to 25 Highs: 30s Sunday: Daylight Saving Time! Partly cloudy Lows: 8 to 18 Highs: 20s Monday: Mostly cloudy Snow showers Lows: 10 to 20 Highs: 30s Hyper-Extended: Tuesday: Mostly cloudy Chance for snow showers Lows: 20s Highs: 30s Wednesday: Partly cloudy Lows: 10 to 20 Highs: 20s
Top of Script
Last Update: Thu 06-MAR-2014
© copyright 1996-2012 WCAX-TV