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Public education in Vermont

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K-12 Education in Vermont
State Superintendent: Armando Vilaseca
Number of students: 89,908[1]
Number of teachers: 8,364
Teacher/pupil ratio: 1:10.7
Number of school districts: 369
Number of schools: 320
Graduation rate: 88%[2]
Per-pupil spending: $15,925[3]
See also
Public education in Vermont
Vermont Department of Education
Vermont school districts
List of school districts in Vermont
The Vermont public school system (prekindergarten-grade 12) operates within districts governed by locally elected school boards members and superintendents. Vermont has approximately 263 public school districts.

The Vermont state constitution requires that the general assembly maintain "in each town unless the general assembly permits other provisions for the convenient instruction of youth. All religious societies, or bodies of people that may be united or incorporated for the advancement of religion and learning, or for other pious and charitable purposes, shall be encouraged and protected in the enjoyment of the privileges, immunities, and estates, which they in justice ought to enjoy, under such regulations as the general assembly of this state shall direct." [4]

School revenues, expenditures and budget

See also: Vermont state budget
Vermont's education costs are 22% of the state budget

According to the 2010 fiscal year appropriated funds the statewide budget totaled approximately $6.1 billion. Education accounted for $1.313 billion of the statewide budget, approximately 21.5%.[5] Vermont faced an estimated $150 million budget shortfall for FY 2011. In January 2010 lawmakers announced that they planned to impose a 5% cut on their own paychecks for the next two sessions.[6] The Vermont General Assembly and Gov. James Douglas approved the state budget on May 12, 2010.[7]

The cost per pupil is $14,300, the fifth highest the nation according the Census Bureau 2007-2008 report.[8]

Personnel salaries

In fiscal year 2010 the average teacher salary in Vermont was $51,378, an increase of $1,942 or 3.9% from fiscal year 2009. According to the state of Vermont FY 2009 had an increase of 2.7% and FY 2008 had an increase of 3.0%. Additionally, the FY 2010 average teacher aide salary was $16,761, an increase of $860 compared to FY 2009. For FY 2010, Vermont’s average student/teacher ratio is 11.05, compared to 10.69 in FY 2009.[9]

School year Average teacher salary Average teacher aide salary
FY 2005[10] $44,345.72 $13,730.16
FY 2006[11] $45,609.06 $13,730.16
FY 2007[12] $46,644 $15,070
FY 2008[13] $48,090 $15,555
FY 2009[14] $49,436 $15,901
FY 2010[9] $51,378 $16,761

Role of unions

The main union related to the Vermont school system is the United Professions of Vermont, an affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers. For the 2003 tax period the union had: $733,618 in total revenue, $722,733 in total expenses and $54.758 in total assets.[15] Another statewide union is the Vermont-National Education Association.[16]

List of local Vermont school unions:[17]

Role of school boards

The State Board of Education consists of nine voting board members and a student non-voting member. All members are appointed by the governor and approved by the senate. According to the state of Vermont, the non-voting student member serves in their junior year of school and moved into a voting position in their senior year. The state board of education supervises and manages the Department of Education as well as the public school system. Specifically some of the board duties include establishing regulation guidelines for governing the public school system including attendance, standards for student performance, adult basic education programs, approval of independent schools, and disbursement of funds.[18]

Taxpayer-funded lobbying

See also: Vermont government sector lobbying

The main education government sector lobbying organization is the Vermont School Boards Association.


Vermont currently has no statewide, official spending database online. However, the Public Assets Institute and the Ethan Allen Institute launched Vermont Transparency, which discloses information about state spending, state revenues, municipal spending, federal contracts, education finance, school spending and federal stimulus funds.

Academic performance

The chart below details whether the state met Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) requirements for the 2009-2010 school year. Highlighted indicators include Reading, Mathematics, Academic and Participation. AYP is used by the federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB) program to determine the academic performance of schools. According to the state of Vermont of the 45,947 students 99% were tested. The state school system met all AYP requirements for the 2009-2010 school year.[19]

Year Reading Mathematics Academic Participation Graduation Rate
2009-2010 Met AYP Met AYP Met AYP Met AYP 86%

State Budget Solutions’ Education Study: “Throwing Money At Education Isn’t Working”

State Budget Solutions’ examined national trends in education from 2009-2011, including state-by-state analysis of education spending, graduation rates, and average ACT scores. The study shows that states that spend the most do not have the highest average ACT test scores, nor do they have the highest average graduation rates. A summary of the study is available here. Download the full report here: Throwing Money At Education Isn’t Working.

See National Chart to compare data from all 50 states.

State Spending on Education vs. Academic Performance 2012

State 2011 Total Spending[20] 2011 Education Spending[21] 2011 Percent Education Spending 2012 Total Spending[22] 2012 Education Spending[23] 2012 Percent Education Spending 2010 Avg. ACT score[24] 2011 Avg. ACT score[25] 2012 Avg. ACT score[26] 2010 Graduation Rate[27] 2011 Graduation Rate[28]
Vermont $6.6 billion $2.3 billion 34.8% $6.6 billion $2.4 billion 36.3% 23.2 22.7 23.0 88.6% 89.3%

School choice

School choice options include:

  • Charter schools: Vermont does not have a charter school law.
  • Public school open enrollment: the state of Vermont has one main open enrollment policy: inter-district. In other words, students are permitted to enroll in any school outside their neighborhood school district. However, the board of the receiving school's school board must first approve of the student's transfer.[29]
  • Online learning: Vermont does not have a state-led online program and because it does not have a charter school law, also does not have online charter schools. However, according to reports, 11 of the state's schools participate in the Virtual High School Global Consortium.[30]

External links


  1. National Center for Education Statistics, "Table 2. Number of operating public schools and districts, state enrollment, teacher and pupil/teacher ratio by state: School year 2011–12," accessed March 18, 2014
  2. ED Data Express, "State Tables Report," accessed March 17, 2014 The site includes this disclaimer: "States converted to an adjusted cohort graduation rate [starting in the 2010-2011 school year], which may or may not be the same as the calculation they used in prior years. Due to the potential differences, caution should be used when comparing graduation rates across states."
  3. United States Census Bureau, "Public Education Finances: 2011," accessed March 18, 2014
  4. Vermont Constitution,"Chapter 1, General Provisions, Section 68," accessed May 19, 2010
  5. Vermont Department of Finance and Management,"Vermont Fiscal Year 2011 Executive Budget Recommendations," January 19, 2010
  6. Brattleboro Reformer,"Budget balancing act named top priority for the year," accessed January 12, 2010
  7. Business Week "Vt. gov, lawmakers agree on budget; session ends" May 13, 2010
  8. Maine Watchdog, Education Spending Per Child, July 6, 2010
  9. 9.0 9.1 Vermont Department of Education,"2010 Teacher/Staff FTE and Salary Report," April 28, 2010
  10. Vermont Department of Education,"2005 Teacher/Staff FTE and Salary Report," accessed May 20, 2010
  11. Vermont Department of Education,"2006 Teacher/Staff FTE and Salary Report," accessed May 20, 2010
  12. Vermont Department of Education,"2007 Teacher/Staff FTE and Salary Report," accessed May 20, 2010
  13. Vermont Department of Education,"2008 Teacher/Staff FTE and Salary Report," accessed May 20, 2010
  14. Vermont Department of Education,"2009 Teacher/Staff FTE and Salary Report," April 28, 2010
  15. Center for Union Facts,"United Professions of Vermont," accessed May 16, 2010
  16. VTNEA,"Home page," accessed May 16, 2010
  17. Center for Union Facts,"Vermont teachers unions," accessed May 16, 2010
  18. Vermont Department of Education,"State Board of Education," May 19, 2010
  19. Vermont Department of Education,"School Accountability System Based on Student Performance 2010 Adequate Yearly Progress Report (Based on 2009 Results)," accessed May 19, 2010
  20. "Alabama Government Spending Chart - Total Spending" Aug. 4, 2012
  21. "Alabama Government Spending Chart - Education Spending"Aug. 4, 2012
  22. "Alabama Government Spending Chart - Total Spending" Aug. 4, 2012
  23. "Alabama Government Spending Chart - Education Spending"Aug. 4, 2012
  24. 2010 ACT National and State Scores "Average Scores by State"
  25. [ 2011 ACT National and State Scores " Average Scores by State"]
  26. [ 2011 ACT National and State Scores " Average Scores by State"]
  27. National Center for Education Statistics
  28. National Center for Education Statistics
  29. Education Commission of the States,"Open Enrollment: 50-State Report," accessed May 19, 2010
  30. The Heritage Foundation,"Vermont School Choice," accessed May 19, 2010