House allocates $16 million for new Burlington High School

Won’t refund it if Burlington wins big PCB lawsuit against Monsanto

By Guy Page

The Vermont House of Representatives decided last Friday Vermont taxpayers must spend $16 million on Burlington’s new high school, even if the state’s largest school district wins big on a lawsuit meant to defray the construction cost. 

Burlington is demolishing its 60-year-old high school on North Avenue because PCB contamination is within the acceptable federal level but higher than the accepted state level. The $165 million demolition/new construction program is behind schedule and will likely cost more. In an effort to spare local taxpayers, the school district is suing Monsanto, an international mining and chemical conglomerate, for PCB-related damages. 

In another effort to spare local taxpayers, the House introduced on March 21, H.486, granting $16 million of state education funds to the Burlington School District “to reimburse the school district for the costs of demolition and removal of PCB contamination at Burlington High School.” It also creates a PCB school study committee and allocates $29.5 million to unspecified – and presumably not named BHS – schools for PCB testing and remediation.

A Republican lawmaker and longtime high school coach and educator from Swanton tried to amend the Burlington-friendly bill: if the big Monsanto lawsuit pays off, how about restoring up to $16 million to the state, taxpayer-funded, Education Fund?

Rep. Matt Walker’s amendment said: “If the Burlington School District is awarded damages in any litigation forthe remediation of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) at Burlington High School, the Burlington School District shall reimburse the State for any damages awarded to the School District for the costs of demolition and removal of PCBs from the High School up to the amount of the grant awarded to the Burlington School District.”

Not happening, 98 of Walker’s fellow House members decided. In addition to granting the $16 million for old BHS PCB remediation, they refused to require Burlington to refund $16 million in high school construction grant money if the school district wins its PCB lawsuit.

Last Friday’s roll-call vote was 41 Yes, 98 No. The roll call was requested by Rep. Casey Toof (R-St. Albans), a member of the House Education Committee and longtime youth sports coach who holds a Castleton State degree in Education. 

Of the 41 ‘yes’ votes, three were Democrats – Tim Corcoran of Barre, John Arrison of Weathersfield, and Kristi Morris of Springfield. The rest were Republicans or independents. Of the 98 ‘no’ votes, none were Republicans. 

The bill now goes to the Senate, where Democrats and progressives hold all seven Chittenden County seats in the 30-seat upper chamber. 

Categories: Legislation

19 replies »

  1. The legislature is out of control & acting as a totalitarian entity only because they know there exists no consequences for them as they can never be voted out thanks to an ignorant & disengaged public, a public school system indoctrinating successive generations of obedient foot soldiers, and an impotent and chaotic federal government in D.C. that holds no one accountable for anything. Their special interest groups, such as the teacher’s union, are the only people they are beholden or indebted to.

    With no checks & balances, absolute power corrupts absolutely. Need any further proof?

  2. This school is circling the drain in every way. Forcing taxpayers to fund a state of the art building that houses crt indoctrinators and their underachieving pupils is absurd.

  3. Funny how the rest of the state schools will be the last to get help if there is any left. I would think that money could be spent on quite a few smaller schools instead of just one but we all know Burlington gets favored over the rest of the state and has for years. I am surprised they haven’t moved the capitol there. Woops it will properly happen now!

  4. I hear freedom deathknells ringing. We lost control of our local schools as soon as the state became involved and it has become worse since the state religion took over.
    Now “Schools and colleges across the U.S. would be forbidden from enacting outright bans on transgender athletes under a proposal released Thursday by the Biden administration, but teams could create some limits in certain cases — for example, to ensure fairness.If finalized, the proposal would become enshrined as a provision of Title IX, the landmark gender-equity legislation enacted in 1972.”

    Is it all a twisted joke, like the pronoun thing, everyone introducing themselves to each other the way dog’s do, presenting their privates instead of their faces? Will people ever wake up?

    • You are absolutely correct instead of protecting the kids the state panders to the mentally ill and allows men in female clothing to be in girls locker rooms as they undress. Time to bring back mental institutions and lock up the mentally ill instead allowing them to run the country.

  5. This has been a money grab from the beginning, the district wanted a new school but it was voted down by the taxpayers. Then they said oh no it’s not safe b.s. it was well below federal standards so the district and state conspired and changed the state levels during the plandemic. Then spent 3 million on a lease then had to spend more of our money to get macy building set up. Which no commercial renter ever pays for but surprise the district is run by fools just like the city and state. So here we are paying an extra at least 400 a year for ever and the state votes to give money and not to ask for it back if they get money from the original builder. What kind of progressive morons are in charge.

  6. Though he would be an improvement on the Barre City delegation, Tom Corcoran is from Bennington.

  7. No surprise. The Big Macs in Vermont go to Chittenden County. The peelings from the potatoes and the stale buns go to the rest of us.

  8. Burlington wanted that bad air result, and now want a brand new school!

    Best of all, now< THEY WANT THE REST OF US TO PAY FOR IT !!!!

  9. In another 10 years the entire state of Vermont will be as bad as burlington is now. Our state representatives are truly progressive socialist activists not legislators or Vermonters….

    • Exactly, progressive socialist and democratic socialist are code words for communist, as these terms were coopted by communists. The entire global population is being forced into a socialist, dictatorial-oriented society, now referred to as the Great Reset. This has been happening for a long time, as detailed in “The Naked Capitalist” by W. Cleon Skousen, published in 1970. Skousen also discusses that the main obstacle in setting up the world dictatorship is the middle class. The strategy was/is to squeeze the middle class to death by creating or exasperating societal problems, including class warfare, crime, education, and moral decay. Then creating government programs to cure the problems they created.

  10. This is the result of people controlling monies they did not earn and are complacent with their implied duty over the taxpayer. democrats are the enemies of the public.

  11. These people are not progressive socialist activists. That is a fairy tale. they are clearly communists. In this case, because of the way VT funds schools, every one who owns a home or other property is paying for the for this burlington school. Its dead wrong, and should be allowed and would not be if we had a legislature of real Americans.

  12. Can we sue these idiots for wasting our tax money!!NO I do not want my tax money to go to Burlington HS!! They have a school now use that! Do not waste the taxpayers dime!

  13. So, hey all you rural Vermonters who have school choice and love your independent schools, the same Burlington legislators who want to shut them down (H.483) also want you to pony up to pay for their brand new 200 million high school!

  14. What a load of garbage! Why should I pay for Burlington’s infrastructure problems (so called)??? I graduated from BHS, I’m just fine…much (I’m sure) to the disappointment of many current fruitcake progressive Burlington Kremlin rulers. There is nothing wrong with that building, but hey, if we’re going to be serious about environmental issues (indoors & outdoors) I suggest that all students learn to make clothing out of locally sustainable grasses and meet outdoors in the Burlington intervale….no new building needed.

  15. What was the number on this bill? I want to contact my Dem Rep about her vote.