Great Barrington backs $12.6M school district assessment
GREAT BARRINGTON -- The Board of Selectman has endorsed the town’s $12.6 million assessment to the Berkshire Hills Regional School District.
On a 3-2 vote recently, the board approved the plan, which represents a 5.4 percent increase over this year’s assessment. The total school budget is $23.6 million.
Selectman Chairman Sean Stanton and Selectmen Deborah Phillips and Andrew Blechman voted in favor of recommending the budget. Board members Stephen Bannon and Daniel Bailly were opposed.
The Finance Committee, however, previously voted 3-2 not to endorse the school budget.
Bannon, who also is the chairman of the School Committee, reiterated his reasons for a "no" vote at the school committee meeting held last month.
"I voted against the budget that night because I believed we needed to cut another $200,000," he said on Wednesday. "I think it’s a good budget, and I think the [school] administration did a good job putting it together, but there are people hurting out there and I think this year, it’s too much."
Bannon conceded that there was no excess, that he could discern, in the budget.
In contrast, the board moved fairly quickly through the town’s $10.7 million municipal budget, which was up about 3.7 percent.
There was some brief discussion about the budget of the Parks and Recreation Department, but Bannon, who also is a member of the Parks Department, assured the board that the $50,000 in the capital budget was all to be used.
As part of her presentation, town manager Jennifer Tabakin pointed out that while the budget is up this year, the town is still $1,561,579 under its levy limit, one of only a handful of towns in that position.
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