GREAT BARRINGTON -- The Berkshire Hills Regional School District School Committee has approved a $22,387,500 budget that includes an assessment hike for Great Barrington residents.
The assessment for Great Barrington would increase 3.92 percent. Stockbridge’s assessment would decrease 5.15 percent and West Stockbridge’s assessment will significantly decrease by 9.5 percent.
Great Barrington’s assessment is scheduled to increase because of a change in the state’s minimum local contribution formula and a greater emphasis on student population enrollment. Sixty-nine percent of the students enrolled in Berkshire Hills schools are from Great Barrington.
Town voters will have the final say during the May town meetings.
School Committee Member Frederick Clark, of Great Barrington, was the only person to vote against the budget.
While noting he felt like the Dr. Seuss character the Grinch, Clark said he could not support a budget with such a significant imbalance in the assessment. He said the board had agreed last year to limit spending and they are turning their back on the commitment.
"I cannot and will not vote for a budget that has an assessment imbalance as large as this one," Clark said at Thursday’s school committee meeting.
Along with the operating budget, Clark was also the lone vote against the capital budget.
Clark had also called for retirees to pay monthly health
The School Committee at its last meeting requested a health care retiree contribution adjustment to 12.75 percent, which is an increase compared to the 8 percent they pay, but still lower than the current rate.
"I believe it’s not fair and not right for them to pay a different rate than current employees," Clark said. "We should have the same rate across the board."
On Feb. 28, the School Committee approved roughly $58,650 in funding cuts with the postponement of the purchase of a truck and plow, the decision not to participate the Massachusetts Association of School Committees, and other cuts that wouldn’t directly affect student learning.