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New Burlington High School plans changed



BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) – The Burlington School District is significantly scaling back plans for a new high school by moving some tech programs to the airport. That will cut down the school’s footprint by 20,000 square feet and cut $20 million from the price tag.

Programs such as aviation and automotive will be consolidated at the airport and will benefit from $10 million secured by Sen. Patrick Leahy for an aviation center.

The changes were needed after the district learned the school was $60 million over the borrowing limit for the project.

I asked Burlington School Board Chair Clare Wool about the funding gap. She said the school board had sought assurances before the mayor proposed municipal bonds last fall that there would be enough bonding capacity to pay for the new school.

“We also as a board and as the chairperson of the board met with the mayor in November and asked him to prioritize the high school before any other bond was presented and a $40 million bond was presented as well as a $27 million bond in March. So we need to work very closely with the mayor and the City Council and Council President Paul to make sure that what the number we arrive at works for both municipal and the school district,” Wool said.

Wool says it’s imperative that the city and district work together to get a new school built, noting that students are currently going to school in a converted Macy’s department store.

She says the board chose the cheapest option for the school and has also hired a consultant to identify other funding sources.

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