Tim Jerman

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Sanders snares 3 Vermont superdelegates

MONTPELIER — Sen. Bernie Sanders netted three more Vermont superdelegates Tuesday bringing his total un-pledged delegate tally to six and his total pledged and unplugged delegate count to 22 out of the state’s 26 available delegates to the national convention in July. Secretary of State James Condos and Vermont Democratic Party Vice Chairman Tim Jerman, who represents Essex in the Vermont House, announced at a State House news conference Tuesday they plan to vote for the hometown presidential candidate. VDP Chairwoman Dottie Deans did not attend the news conference, but announced in an email to reporters that also plans to back Sanders. Condos and Jerman cited Sanders’ overwhelming victory in the March 1 Vermont Primary in which he won 86 percent of the vote. His Democratic primary rival, Hillary Clinton, did not reach the 15 percent threshold to secure pledged delegates that are awarded to candidates on a proportional basis, so Sanders won all 16 of the state’s pledged delegates. Continue Reading →

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School spending thresholds up in the air

MONTPELIER — Senate lawmakers have taken one more step toward repealing school spending thresholds, while House lawmakers have taken a step backwards. For the past week, lawmakers on both sides of the General Assembly have explored parallel but differing approaches to dealing with spending thresholds and financial penalties associated with Act 46, the school district merger plan signed into law in May 2015. With a unanimous vote Tuesday, Senate lawmakers gave their preliminary approval to a bill to repeal the thresholds, which under Act 46, are in effect for fiscal years 2017 and 2018 and were intended as a means to provide immediate tax relief. “I think we have the opportunity to get the best of both worlds, where schools really scrutinized their budgets, and yet, we’re not going to penalize districts that don’t deserve to be penalized,” said Sen. David Zuckerman, P-Chittenden, who drafted the repeal bill in October. Meanwhile, a bill offered by the House Education Committee to retain the thresholds but raise them by 0.9 percent was recommitted to the committee, meaning it will take another affirmative vote among those committee members to return the bill to the floor. Continue Reading →

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House lawmakers vote to raise school spending thresholds

MONTPELIER — House lawmakers have taken a step to address school district spending thresholds, but Senate lawmakers are looking at repealing the thresholds altogether. On Tuesday, by a unanimous vote, the House Education Committee approved a bill to raise every individual school district’s spending threshold by 0.9 percent for fiscal year 2017. “We have heard quite a bit of testimony and have heard from a lot of people back home who want to protect the cost control that was put into effect last session while recognizing every district is unique,” said Rep. Tim Jerman, D-Essex Junction. “This is a good compromise.” (more…) Continue Reading →

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Dem leaders look to kill ban on teacher strikes

MONTPELIER — Democratic leaders are maneuvering to amend a bill slated to hit the House floor Wednesday by replacing language that calls for a ban on teacher strikes and the imposition of labor contracts by school boards with a study. That would significantly weaken the legislation, H.76, that has been pushed heavily by Republican Rep. Kurt Wright of Burlington. Although he has secured a vote on the bill from Democratic leaders, they are now looking to kill off key parts. In addition to the ban on strikes and contract impositions, it would institute a 1-cent tax rate increase on districts that cannot reach a contract agreement within one year. House Deputy Assistant Majority Leader Tim Jerman, D- Essex, said Democrats are considering an amendment to be offered on the House floor that would institute a study on whether teacher strikes should be banned. Continue Reading →

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