Friday June 15, 2012

Compromise is the essence of government -- a fact lost on Washington -- and Pittsfield Mayor Daniel Bianchi and Superintendent Howard "Jake" Eberwein have reached a budget compromise backed unanimously Wednesday by the School Committee. How ever, while five of seven elementary teaching positions were saved, the two lost teaching positions are a concern given the critical importance of education in those age groups.

The absence this fiscal year of the $1.3 million in federal stimulus funds available last year meant cuts to the education budget were likely if not inevitable. The mayor's proposal is $300,000 higher in the compromise and the School Department's is $700,000 less, and a mix closer to 50-50 may preserve the teaching jobs.

Small class sizes at Crosby Elementary may make it possible to absorb those two cuts now, but teaching positions once cut are rarely regained and those class sizes could grow. Something to consider as the city strives to prepare its young students for ever increasing academic demands.