Public education in Vermont
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- 1 State agencies
- 2 Regional comparison
- 3 Demographics
- 4 Academic performance
- 5 Educational choice options
- 6 Education funding and expenditures
- 7 Organizations
- 8 Taxpayer-funded lobbying
- 9 Transparency
- 10 Studies and reports
- 11 School districts
- 12 Education ballot measures
- 13 Recent news
- 14 See also
- 15 External links
- 16 References
List of school districts in Vermont
Public education in Vermont
School board elections portal
|“||The Vermont State Board of Education and Agency of Education provide leadership, support, and oversight to ensure that the Vermont public education system enables all students to be successful.||”|
The Agency of Education is led by the Secretary of Education. The Secretary of Education is appointed by the governor from a list of candidates provided by the State Board of Education. The appointment is subject to confirmation by the state senate. The current officeholder is Rebecca Holcombe.
The State Board of Education is "responsible for the establishment, advancement, and evaluation of public education policy." The board is composed of 11 members appointed by the governor with the advice and consent of the state senate. Of these 11 members, two are student representatives (one of whom has voting power, the other of whom does not). The Secretary of Education also serves as a non-voting member of the board.
Common Core, or the Common Core State Standards Initiative, is an American education initiative that outlines quantifiable benchmarks in English and mathematics at each grade level from kindergarten through high school. The Vermont State Board of Education adopted the standards on August 17, 2010. Full implementation took place during the 2013-2014 academic year.
- See also: General comparison table for education statistics in the 50 states
- See also: Education spending per pupil in all 50 states
The following chart shows how Vermont compares to three neighboring states with respect to number of students, schools, the number of teachers per pupil, and the number of administrators per pupil. Further comparisons between these states with respect to performance and financial information are given in other sections of this page.
|State||Schools||Districts||Students||Teachers||Teacher/pupil ratio||Administrator/pupil ratio||Per pupil spending|
| Sources: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Common Core of Data (CCD), "State Nonfiscal Public Elementary/Secondary Education Survey", 2011-12 v.1a.|
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
The following table displays the ethnic distribution of students in Vermont as reported in the National Center for Education Statistics Common Core of Data for 2011-2012.
|Demographic information for Vermont's K-12 public school system|
|Ethnicity||Students||State Percentage||United States Percentage**|
|Hawaiian Nat./Pacific Isl. students||63||0.07%||0.42%|
|Two or more||1,875||2.10%||2.54%|
|**Note: This is the percentage of all students in the United States that are reported to be of this ethnicity.|
Enrollments by region type
A majority of students in Vermont attend rural schools. Approximately 82 percent of the state's students attend rural or town schools, compared to approximately 18 percent who attend city or suburban schools.
|Student distribution by region type, 2011 - 2012 (as percents)|
|State||City schools||Suburban schools||Town schools||Rural schools|
|Source: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Common Core of Data (CCD) (timed out)|
- See also: NAEP scores by state
The National Center for Education Statistics provides state-by-state data on student achievement levels in mathematics and reading in the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). Compared to three neighboring states (Maine, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire), Vermont has the second smallest share of fourth grade students who scored at or above proficient in math.
|Percent of students scoring at or above proficient, 2012-2013|
|Math - Grade 4||Math - Grade 8||Reading - Grade 4||Reading - Grade 8|
|Source: United States Department of Education, ED Data Express, "State Tables," accessed May 13, 2014|
|NAEP assessment data for all students 2012-2013|
Graduation, ACT and SAT scores
|Comparison table for graduation rates and test scores*|
|State||Graduation rate, 2012||Average ACT Composite, 2012||Average SAT Composite, 2013|
|Percent||Quintile ranking**||Score||Participation rate||Score||Participation rate|
| *Regulatory Adjusted Cohort Rate (except for Idaho, Kentucky, Oklahoma, which did not report “Regulatory Adjusted Cohort Graduation Rate,” but instead used their own method of calculation).|
**Graduation rates for states in the first quintile ranked in the top 20 percent nationally. Similarly, graduation rates for states in the fifth quintile ranked in the bottom 20 percent nationally.
Source: United States Department of Education, ED Data Express
- See also: Public high school dropout rates by state for a full comparison of dropout rates by group in all states
The high school event dropout rate indicates the proportion of students who were enrolled at some time during the school year and were expected to be enrolled in grades 9–12 in the following school year but were not enrolled by October 1 of the following school year. Students who have graduated, transferred to another school, died, moved to another country, or who are out of school due to illness are not considered dropouts. The average public high school event dropout rate for the United States remained constant at 3.3 percent for both SY 2010–11 and SY 2011–12. The event dropout rate for Vermont was lower than the national average at 2.5 percent in the 2010-2011 school year, and 2.5 percent in the 2011-2012 school year.
Educational choice options
- See also: School choice in Vermont
School choice options in Vermont include: a school voucher program, an inter-district open enrollment policy and an online learning program. In addition, about 10.59 percent of school age children in the state attended private schools in the 2011-12 academic year, and an estimated 2.67 percent were homeschooled in 2012-13.
Education funding and expenditures
- See also: Vermont state budget and finances
According to the National Association of State Budget Officers (NASBO), the state spent approximately 31.1 percent of its fiscal year 2012 budget on elementary and secondary education. As a share of the budget, this is up 4.70 percentage points, or 17.8 percent, from fiscal year 2008, when the state spent 26.4 percent of its budget on elementary and secondary education.
|Comparison of financial figures for school systems|
|State||Percent of budget (2012)||Per pupil spending (2011)||Revenue sources (2011)|
|Percent federal funds||Percent state funds||Percent local funds|
| Sources: NASBO, "State Expenditure Report," Table 8: Elementary and Secondary Education Expenditures As a Percent of Total Expenditures |
U.S. Census Bureau, "Public Education Finances: 2011,Governments Division Reports," issued May 2013
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, public school system revenues in Vermont totaled approximately $1.5 billion in fiscal year 2011. The table and chart below present further detail, including revenue sources, for Vermont and surrounding states.
|Revenues by source, FY 2011 (amounts in thousands)|
|Federal revenue||State revenue||Local revenue||Total revenue|
|Source: National Center for Education Statistics|
|Public school revenues by source, FY 2011 (as percents)|
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, public school system expenditures in Vermont totaled approximately $1.5 billion in fiscal year 2011. The table and chart below present further detail, including expenditure types, for Vermont and surrounding states.
|Expenditures by type, FY 2011 (amounts in thousands)|
|Current expenditures**||Capital outlay||Other***||Total expenditures|
| **Funds spent operating local public schools and local education agencies, including such expenses as salaries for school personnel, student transportation, school books and materials, and energy costs, but excluding capital outlay, interest on school debt, payments to private schools, and payments to public charter schools.|
***Includes payments to state and local governments, payments to private schools, interest on school system indebtedness, and nonelementary-secondary expenditures, such as adult education and community services expenditures.
Source: National Center for Education Statistics
|Public school expenditures, FY 2011 (as percents)|
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the average national salary for classroom teachers in public elementary and secondary schools has declined by 1.3 percent from the 1999-2000 school year to the 2012-2013 school year. During the same period in Vermont, the average salary increased by 1.8 percent.
|Estimated average salaries for teachers (in constant dollars**)|
|**"Constant dollars based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI), prepared by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, adjusted to a school-year basis. The CPI does not account for differences in inflation rates from state to state."|
In 2012 the Fordham Institute and Education Reform Now assessed the power and influence of state teacher unions in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Their rankings were based on 37 different variables in five broad areas, including: resources and membership, involvement in politics, scope of bargaining, state policies and perceived influence. Vermont ranked 11th overall, or "strong," which was in the second of five tiers.
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. Another statewide union is the Vermont-National Education Association.
List of local Vermont school unions:
- United Professions of Vermont
- Vermont-National Education Association
- AFT Burlington
- AFT Barton
- AFT Brattleboro
- South Burlington Educators Association
- Windham Southeast Education Association
- Colchester Education Association
- Orleans Central Education Association
- See also: Vermont government sector lobbying
The main education government sector lobbying organization is the Vermont School Boards Association.
Studies and reports
Quality Counts 2014
- See also: Quality Counts 2014 Report
Education Week, a publication that reports on many education issues throughout the country, began using an evaluation system in 1997 to grade each state on various elements of education performance. This system, called Quality Counts, uses official data on performance from each state to generate a report card for all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The report card in 2014 uses six different categories:
- Chance for success
- K-12 achievement
- Standards, assessments and accountability
- The teaching profession
- School finance
- Transitions and Alignment
Each of these six categories had a number of other elements that received individual scores. Those scores were then averaged and used to determine the final score in each category. Every state received two types of scores for each of the six major categories: A numerical score out of 100 and a letter grade based on that score. Education Week used the score for the first category, "chance for success," as the value for ranking each state and the District of Columbia. The average grade received in the entire country was 77.3, or a C+ average. The country's highest average score was in the category of "standards, assessments and accountability" at 85.3, or a B average. The lowest average score was in "K-12 achievement", at 70.2, or a C- average.
Vermont received a score of 86.4, or a B average in the "chance for success" category. This was above the national average. Aside from the "chance for success" category, the state's highest score was in "school finance" at 86.0, or a B average. The lowest score was in "the teaching profession" at 70.6, or a C- average. Vermont had the seventh highest score in the "chance for success" category in the country. The chart below displays the scores of Vermont and its surrounding states.
Note: Click on a column heading to sort the data.
|Public education report cards, 2014|
|State||Chance for success||K-12 achievement||Standards, assessments and accountability||The teaching profession||School finance||Transitions and Alignment|
|Vermont||86.4 (B)||77.3 (C+)||82.7 (B)||70.6 (C-)||86.0 (B)||71.4 (C-)|
|Maine||78.8 (C+)||72.6 (C)||69.6 (C-)||67.8 (D+)||83.9 (B)||82.1 (B-)|
|Massachusetts||91.4 (A-)||83.7 (B)||88.4 (B+)||78.7 (C+)||83.5 (B)||75.0 (C)|
|New Hampshire||88.0 (B+)||78.8 (C+)||76.0 (C)||63.9 (D)||81.4 (B-)||78.6 (C+)|
|United States Average||77.3 (C+)||70.2 (C-)||85.3 (B)||72.5 (C)||75.5 (C)||81.1 (B-)|
| Source: Education Week, "Quality Counts 2014 report cards," accessed February 18, 2015|
A full discussion of how these numbers were generated can be found here.
State Budget Solutions education study
State Budget Solutions examined national trends in education from 2009 to 2011, including state-by-state analysis of education spending, graduation rates and average ACT scores. The study showed that the states that spent the most did not have the highest average ACT test scores, nor did they have the highest average graduation rates. A summary of the study is available here. The full report can be accessed here.
- See also: School board elections portal
Vermont contains multiple types of school districts described below:
- Town or city school district: A school district operated within the confines of a single town or city.
- Joint contract board: A legal mechanism whereby multiple school districts maintain their own school boards but also operate a joint board that coordinates certain educational programs.
- Union school district: A combination of two or more school districts that agree to own and maintain a common group of schools. In this district type, each district maintains a local school board.
- Unified union school district: A combination of two or more school districts that agree to own and maintain a common group of schools. In this district type, participating districts elect representatives to a single school board.
- Interstate school district: A district that serves students in neighboring towns in New Hampshire and Vermont.
School districts employing 40 or fewer teachers are members of supervisory unions, which are overseen by a superintendent of schools.
- See also: List of school districts in Vermont
The following table displays the state's top 10 school districts by total student enrollment:
School board composition
Vermont school board members are generally elected by residents of the school district, although some school board members are appointed to fill vacancies until the next election for the seat is held. Vermont school board elections typically follow one of these two methods, or a mixture thereof:
- At-large: All voters residing in the school district may vote for any candidates running, regardless of geographic location.
- Trustee area: Only voters residing in a specific geographic area within the school district may vote on certain candidates, who must also reside in that specific geographic area.
School board membership ranges from three members to 14 members. Board members serve terms of one, two or three years.
Vermont does not impose statewide term limits on school board members. However, terms limits on school board members can still be imposed on the local level.
No top enrollment districts in Vermont are scheduled to hold elections in 2015.
Path to the ballot
To qualify for the ballot as a school board candidate in Vermont, a person must be nominated by a voter in the school district by the sixth Monday prior to the election. The nominating voter must submit at least 30 signatures from district residents to the local elections clerk. A nominated candidate must indicate consent to appear on the ballot by the Wednesday after the nomination was submitted.
State law requires candidates who have received or spent $500 or more prior to an election to register with the Vermont Secretary of State. A registered candidate must submit campaign finance reports twice before the election and a post-election report two weeks after the general election.
Education ballot measures
Ballotpedia has tracked the following statewide ballot measures relating to education.
- Vermont Joint School Maintenance by Towns Amendment, Article 41 (1954)
- Vermont Maintenance of Schools Amendment (1964)
This section displays the most recent stories in a Google news search for the term "Vermont + Education "
- All stories may not be relevant to this page due to the nature of the search engine.
- Vermont state budget and finances
- Vermont Department of Education
- List of school districts in Vermont
- Education Policy in the U.S.
- 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
- 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."
- United States Census Bureau, "Public Education Finances: 2011," accessed March 18, 2014
- United States Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, "Common Core of Data (CCD); Table 2.—Number of operating public schools and districts, state enrollment, teacher and pupil/teacher ratio by state: School year 2011-12," accessed May 12, 2014
- United States Department of Education, "ED Data Express," accessed May 12, 2014
- Vermont Agency of Education, "About the Agency," accessed June 5, 2014
- Note: This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.
- Vermont Agency of Education, "Meet the Secretary," accessed June 5, 2014
- Vermont Agency of Education, "State Board of Education," accessed June 5, 2014
- Common Core State Standards Initiative, "Core Standards in your State," accessed June 12, 2014
- Vermont Agency of Education, "Common Core State Standards," accessed June 17, 2014
- United States Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, "Common Core of Data (CCD), State Nonfiscal Public Elementary/Secondary Education Survey, 2011-2012," accessed May 7, 2014
- United States Department of Education, ED Data Express, "State Tables," accessed May 13, 2014
- ACT, "2012 ACT National and State Scores," accessed May 13, 2014
- Commonwealth Foundation, "SAT Scores by State 2013," October 10, 2013
- United States Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, "Common Core of Data (CCD), State Dropout and Graduation Rate Data File, School Year 2010-11, Provision Version 1a and School Year 2011-12, Preliminary Version 1a," accessed May 13, 2014
- National Association of State Budget Officers, "State Expenditure Report, 2011-2013," accessed February 21, 2014
- National Association of State Budget Officers, "State Expenditure Report, 2009-2011," accessed February 24, 2014
- National Association of State Budget Officers, "State Expenditures Report, 2010-2012," accessed February 24, 2014
- National Association of State Budget Officers, "State Expenditure Report, 2009," accessed February 24, 2014
- National Association of State Budget Officers, "State Expenditure Report, 2008," accessed February 24, 2014
- United States Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, "Revenues and Expenditures for Public Elementary and Secondary School Districts: School Year 2010–11," accessed May 13, 2014 (timed out)
- Maciver Institute, "REPORT: How much are teachers really paid?," accessed October 29, 2014
- United States Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, "Table 211.60. Estimated average annual salary of teachers in public elementary and secondary schools, by state: Selected years, 1969-70 through 2012-13," accessed May 13, 2014
- Thomas E Fordham Institute, " How Strong Are U.S. Teacher Unions? A State-By-State Comparison," October 29, 2012
- Center for Union Facts, "United Professions of Vermont," accessed May 16, 2010
- Vermont-National Education Association, "Home page," accessed May 16, 2010
- Center for Union Facts, "Vermont teachers unions," accessed May 16, 2010 (dead link)
- SPOTLIGHT.vermont.gov, "Home page," accessed June 5, 2014
- Education Week "Quality Counts 2014 report cards," accessed February 19, 2015
- Vermont School Boards Association, "Essential Work of Vermont School Boards," accessed July 10, 2014
- National Center for Education Statistics, "ELSI Table Generator," accessed July 11, 2014
- Vermont State Legislatures, "Title 16: Education," accessed July 10, 2014
- Vermont Secretary of State, "Local Candidates," accessed July 9, 2014
State of Vermont
|State executive officers||
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