How Will a $2 Million Cut Affect Vermont’s Prison Education Program?

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By Jane Lindholm, Ric Cengeri & Amanda Shepard

In his budget address last month, Gov. Peter Shumlin announced that he plans to cut almost $2 million of funding from the Community High School of Vermont, a program that provides high school classes to those in Vermont’s prison system.

There are 17 campuses in Vermont, according to Wilhelmina Picard, Vermont’s director of corrections education — one in each of the prison facilities and at nine parole and probation offices throughout the state. The proposed budget cuts would reduce the program to four prison campuses in Vermont. 

Picard says that on a typical day, there are approximately 500 to 600 enrolled students in classrooms throughout the state.

“We have basic skills classes, regular high school classes, career and technical education classes, welding programs, culinary arts programs and a number of different things,” says Picard. She explains that the Community High School doesn’t look much different from other high schools, other than its alternative setting.

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