Farmington school budget up 3.7 percent over last year
OTIS -- Farmington River Regional School District has approved a fiscal 2015 budget of $4,308,722, a 3.7 percent increase over the previous year.
The budget would increase the assessment in Otis and Sandisfield 1 percent and 3 percent, respectively, and has been received by the towns without pushback.
"I haven't heard anything about the increase from either of them," said Farmington River Regional School District Business Manager Jane Gleason.
The budget's largest expenditure increases were an $18,000 spike in health insurance costs, and tuition and transportation costs associated with special education students.
The School Committee would alleviate the tax burden on the towns by using $110,500 from the School Choice revolving funds and $55,000 in excess and deficiency funds to lower the overall assessment on taxpayers down to 1.5 percent.
The budget, approved last month, doesn't reflect any potential increases that could come from a re-negotiated tuition-in contract with Berkshire Hills Regional School District.
In November, Berkshire Hills Regional School District's School Committee passed a resolution to increase tuition fees from feeders schools, Farmington River and Richmond Consolidated Schools.
Farmington River, which serves students in pre-K through sixth grade, currently sends 125 students to Berkshire Hills; Richmond Consolidated sends 43 tuitioned-in students to Berkshire Hills.
In late February, Berkshire Hills Regional and Richmond Consolidated Schools came to an agreement on a revised tuition-in contract that will increase payment by 6 percent over the previous year, or $7,743.30.
BHRSD Superintendent Peter Dillon said it costs an average of $16,000 to teach a student. Tuitioned students allow the district to use space that is currently not filled with students.
Farmington River's School Committee is expected to discuss the tuition-in agreement in executive session on Monday.
School Committee Chairman John Skrip deferred comment on negotiations until after Monday's meeting.
"We're in the process of reviewing the contract and seeing if it's acceptable," Skrip said.
To reach John Sakata:
or (413) 496-6240.
On Twitter: @jsakata
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