North Adams school spending up 2 percent; services level


NORTH ADAMS — Existing school programs and staffing levels would be retained in the coming year under a $17.77 million budget adopted this week by the North Adams School Committee.

The district's fiscal 2020 budget is up 2 percent over the current year, but officials were able to keep services level by drawing $265,000 from the school choice reserve account. The budget was first introduced to the full School Committee for review in April.

The largest increase, by percent, is to district leadership and administration. Those expenses are up 7 percent to cover the entire cost of a full-time business administrator after sharing one last year with the North Berkshire School Union.

The budget also includes savings of $56,000 thanks to the consolidation of administration offices from Main Street into City Hall. Although the reorganization came with costs, it resulted in savings for the district, which no longer has to pay rent for its administrative headquarters.

"Bravo for looking for such efficiencies," said School Committee Member Ian Bergeron.

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The district has typically relied on $250,000 from the school choice account to balance the budget. An additional $15,000 was used this year to fund a stipend for a school nurse leader, which was approved mid-year during a reorganization of nurse salaries.

The school's budget now must be approved by the City Council as part of the city's overall 2020 budget plan.

Mayor Thomas Bernard introduced a $40.84 million city budget last month that represents a spending increase of less than 1 percent.

The mayor's proposal is currently under review by the council's Finance Committee, which will hold its next in a series of meetings on the budget at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday in City Hall. The topics covered by the committee will include general government expenses and the city's employee classification and compensation plan.

Adam Shanks can be reached at, at @EagleAdamShanks on Twitter, or 413-629-4517.


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