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Education: 5. Vermont’s 2016 Total Education Expenditures

Education: 5. Vermont’s 2016 Total Education Expenditures

As reported in the Fiscal-Year 2016 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, total Education expenditures were $1.94 billion.

Unfortunately, this report does not provide a detailed breakdown of Education expenditures. For this information, The Informed Vermonter used the final approved budget of the state.


Summary of Budgeted Education Expenditures: Fiscal-Year 2016


Expenditure Category Amount ($)
Agency of Education (pre-K-12) 1,699,237,702
Higher Education 87,737,024
State Teachers Retirement System 97,984,195
Total 1,884,958,921

Source: Governor’s Fiscal-Year 2017 Executive Budget Recommendation


The Agency of Education budget (almost $1.7 billion), which funds grades pre-K through 12 in Vermont, will be detailed below.

The vast bulk of Higher Education expenditures are going to UVM, other Vermont State Colleges and the Vermont Student Assistance Corp.

The Informed Vermonter will review the State Teachers Retirement System later under Vermont Employee Retirement Benefits. Note that $9.3 million of the State Teachers Retirement System expenditures were funded by the related pension fund, which is held in trust for the benefit of retirees and therefore not included in the primary government financial report.

Taking into account the funding provided by the pension fund, there is a $65 million gap between the actual audited Education expenditures and the budgeted expenditures in 2016.

There are probably two key reasons for this gap. First, the accounting methods used in the budget process differ from the audit. Budgets are done on a cash basis and the audit on an accrual basis, so the audit will include expenses incurred but not yet paid for, for example. It is also possible that the actual expenses incurred by Vermont’s 273 school districts were somewhat higher than estimated in the budget process.

Agency of Education Budget: Fiscal-Year 2016


Department Amount ($)
Finance & Administration 26,673,703
Education Services 132,137,303
Special Education 179,823,434
State Placed Students 16,400,000
Adult Education & Literacy 7,351,468
Education Payment 1,289,600,000
Transportation 17,734,913
Small School Grants 7,615,000
Capital Debt Service 122,000
Tobacco Education 766,541
Essential Early Education 6,356,188
Technical Education 13,331,162
Cost Containment 1,325,990
Total 1,699,237,702

Source: Vermont Agency of Education 2017 Budget Book


Much of the above is self explanatory, but a few clarifications will be helpful. The Education Payment of almost $1.3 billion basically represents the aggregate budget of Vermont’s school districts.

Education Services effectively administers a wide variety of federal grant programs focused on quality of education (Common Core, Personalized Learning, Flexible Pathways…), child nutrition, Title I (low income students) and IDEA grants for special education. Federal funds accounted for 93% of the Education Services 2016 budget.

Tobacco Education is funded by the tobacco litigation fund. Cost Containment is a result of recent Vermont legislation aimed at reducing the cost of Special Education.



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