MONTPELIER, Vt. — School budgets across Vermont have come in lower than expected, likely blunting an expected rise in property taxes.

WCAX-TV reports that budgets on the ballots across the state rose on average by 1.5 percent. Last fall, Agency of Education Finance Manager Brad James projected a 3.5 percent jump.

Based on his initial estimate, James thought taxes would rise about 7 percent, or 9 cents for every $100 of property value. He says the new numbers could knock as much as 5 cents off of that.

Republican Gov. Phil Scott says he wants to avoid any property tax increase at all, but James says that is unlikely.

The Vermont School Boards Association says the trend of school district consolidation spurred by Act 46 created much of the savings.

Information from: WCAX-TV,