By Mia Moore and Rhett Williams The work of education is complex and transformative. The work of structuring a budget to support education is complicated and boring. It’s also one of the most important investments our community makes each year. On March 7, 2023, our towns — Roxbury and Montpelier — will be voting on the budget that will fund our schools for the 2023–2024 school year. In fact, we will be voting on two budgets, the Montpelier Roxbury Public Schools budget and the Central Vermont Career Center budget. While these budgets are distinct questions on the ballot, it’s important to understand that the amount of money Montpelier and Roxbury pay to CVCC is already included in the total budget for our district. So even though we are voting on the entire CVCC budget, the amount that our community is responsible for is already a part of our district’s $28,580,000 budget for the year, not in addition to. We are also voting on our district’s capital reserve fund, an additional $270,000, which pays for investments in facilities upgrades and maintenance. Our school budget is an investment in our students; our staff; and all the work it takes to support academic, social, and emotional growth through education. In our district, we have students and staff working hard together to develop the supportive relationships that are necessary to foster learning. The Sustainability and STEAM classes at our middle school and the Flexible Pathways program at the high school are just a few examples of the creative and inventive approach our teachers bring to the classroom. We are increasing our teaching capacity to ensure all students have access to an expert who can help them improve in an area when they need it.This budget provides for a raise for our hard-working, dedicated, incredible teachers and staff. This budget ensures we have critical positions such as our Community Liaison, our custodial team, literacy interventionists, instructional assistants, and school office staff. Our new Director of Social Emotional Learning is unifying and strengthening the work across the district that helps students build up valuable personal skills that support their learning and their classroom community. This budget provides a welcoming, safe structural environment for our students and teachers to learn together. In the coming year, we will be updating the auditorium at Union Elementary School, renovating the sustainability lab at Main Street Middle School, and beginning the project to replace more than 300 windows at Union and MSMS. And while this budget is doing a lot for our schools, none of the funds in the general budget or the current capital plan are allocated to the improvements of the track at Montpelier High School. The Central Vermont Career Center provides our high schoolers with opportunities to expand their education toward a possible future career in programs such as digital media arts, emergency services, bakery and culinary arts, cosmetology, and plumbing and heating. Students can get a jump start on their futures while also working toward their high school diplomas. The Montpelier Roxbury board of school directors unanimously voted in favor of this budget not only because it’s the most important investment our communities can make, but also because the “price tag” is incredibly reasonable. This budget is projected to increase Montpelier property taxes by the tiniest of rates — just 1.37% — and reduce taxes in Roxbury by 9.59%. Make sure to vote on or before March 7. You can vote early during regular business hours at the clerk’s office in Montpelier and Roxbury until March 6. Roxbury residents voting early are encouraged to avoid use of the postal service. The annual Town Meeting takes place 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. in Montpelier City Hall via Australian ballot, and 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. in Roxbury Town Hall via Australian ballot. Mia Moore and Rhett Williams are directors on the Montpelier Roxbury Public School Board.