Superintendent James Brosnan guides the Northern Berkshire Regional School Committee through the 2014 fiscal year budget.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The Northern Berkshire Regional School Committee quickly reviewed and unanimously approved a 2014 budget of $8,467,440 for Charles H. McCann Technical School.
The 2014 budget is about a 4 percent increase from this year's $8.1 million.
In a meeting that lasted under 40 minutes, Superintendent James Brosnan guided the committee through the fiscal 2014 operating budget, pointing out key adjustments from previous years.
Brosnan highlighted a key transportation adjustment for the incoming year that reduced increases in the budget.
Considering the addition of Cheshire
, the district opted to look into student demographics related to busing.
Donna Thomas, assistant secretary to the principal and treasurer, mapped out the students' locations digitally. After exploring the capacity of the nine vehicles, the school opted to reroute the buses.
"Even though we have added two communities in Cheshire and Lanesborough, we will be able to transport our students there very confidently ... on the same buses we have now," Brosnan said. "It's just rerouting the routes and moving it around."
Currently, there are 44 students from Cheshire and 26 from Lanesborough, approximately 13 percent of enrollment.
Brosnan said adding another bus would have increased the budget around $30,000. The upcoming year's transportation budget is $383,964, an approximately $14,000 increase from 2013 and $30,000 from 2012.
In addition, the special education budget increased from approximately $4,700 this year to $20,000 because more students require the services, Brosnan said. In addition, a second paraprofessional will be hired, which will increase the salary budget from about $34,000 to $57,621.
In other staff-related increases, the severance budget is $35,700 — a rise from $3,000 in 2013 — because four teachers are retiring. For custodial services, the salary budget decreased from $287,534 to $259,182 because the staff's size shrunk from six to five. However, overtime will increase from $14,600 to $26,000 to allow maintenance supervisor Gary Pierce to have time off.
Brosnan also pointed out that the cost of Internet service rose from about $19,000 to $29,200 because of the school's need to expand its bandwidth.
"If you build it, they will come. If you set it up, they will use it. And now it needs more and more and more," Brosnan said. "The great thing is, as we're advancing the technology and how we do our teaching and learning, it's a requirement."
The school's revenue comes from mostly Chapter 70 general school aid ($4,617,441) and municipal minimum assessments of $2,620,589, an increase of $600,000 — a significant increase because of the addition of Cheshire and Lanesborough to the district.
In other news:
• The committee approved unanimously to allocate an amount to not exceed $130,000 for technology upgrades. Brosnan said the controls and software of the Haas Manufacturing Centers need to be upgraded, which will cost about $65,000, and the metal shop needs four new wielders, an approximately $58,000 expense.
• Principal Justin Kratz said the entire junior class has now passed the mathematics portion of the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System exam.
• The school will have a lockdown drill on Friday, Feb. 15. Families, students and faculty have been notified.
• Students will take the National Assessment of Educational Progress test on Monday, Feb. 28.
• Carpentry student Damon Grimes, a senior, was chosen to attend a Teen 10 Competition, an arts display, in Pittsfield for a shaker table he built.
• Seven automotive students participated in the Ford AAA Test this week. The school is awaiting the scores, but Kratz noted that last year a couple students moved onto the state level.