NORTH ADAMS -- The proposed school budget for fiscal 2015 would eliminate 19 positions across the district.

The $16.09 million budget for North Adams Public School represents roughly $827,000 in cuts. Superintendent James E. Montepare estimated a majority -- perhaps $750,000 -- would be in staff. The 1.28 percent increase over fiscal 2014 is largely due to contractual obligations as well as rising energy and special education costs.

The budget also represents the city contributing $204,000 -- the minimum spending required by the state -- and utilizing $400,000 in school choice funds.

"There are still some wild cards out there," he said. "For example, we don’t know exactly what Title I is going to look like, special education, or all of our recurring grants."

A public hearing for the budget is scheduled for Tuesday at 6 p.m. in the Offices of the Superintendent, 37 Main St. Suite 200.

The budget was rolled out for the first time at Monday’s meeting of the School Committee’s Finance and Facilities Subcommittee.

The 19 positions that would be eliminated are 10 full-time teachers, five non-contract employees, and four teaching assistants, Montepare said. In addition, two teaching assistants who have retired and two teachers who have resigned will not be replaced.

Among the cuts would be three full-time instructional technology positions at the elementary schools, Montepare said. Also to be cut are a Title I teacher, an elementary-level social studies teacher, a general education elementary school teacher, and a special education teaching position.

Level-funded line items include maintenance of equipment, Montepare said. He noted the budget allows for "band aid" fixes on aging boilers in the buildings.

The budget’s biggest reduction is in $247,000 for instructional coordinators, with the budgeted $62,456 representing a 79.86 percent decrease over fiscal 2014.

"The reality is that state aid has been reduced and continues to force us to reduce school spending and school budgets," Mayor Richard A. Alcombright remarked during the meeting.

Both Alcombright and Montepare pointed to level funding through Chapter 70 state aid for the past five years as contributing to a difficult budget.

"I think there’s a perception here in the city that our expenses keep rising," Alcombright said. "But our revenues continue to shrink, and we have not been able to raise revenues at the same pace they’re declining all over the city."

The school budget’s release follows that of Alcombright’s $37.74 million city budget, which includes increase in water and sewer charges and a cut in police and Department of Public Works services. The revenue package, which will be voted on separately from the final budget, also would include an increase in parking fines and other fees.

To reach Edward Damon:
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