Principal Justin Kratz speaks to the McCann School Committee on Tuesday night. The committee approved a fiscal 2015 budget of $8.7 million.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The McCann Technical School budget for fiscal 2015 is up 2.6 percent total, which brings total increases to $220,000.
The School Committee on Tuesday night approved a total budget of $8,687,831, up from $8,467,440 this year.
Some 1.6 percent of the increases are mandated by the state, said budget committee members at Tuesday's public hearing. This accounts for $140,000 of the budget increase.
An $80,000 increase also was placed into the budget because of changes in health insurance, operation of the school, transportation, and salary increases.
Superintendent James Brosnan explained that McCann has seen an influx in younger teachers. Many of these teachers go on to expand their education and receive master’s degrees. He added that further qualified teachers receive an increased salary.
"It's a noble goal, but salaries are going to be higher because of earned degree status," Brosnan said. "We are very proud they have reached that status, but it affects the budget."
Cheshire and Lanesborough were added into the regional district last year. The highest municipal assessments will be to Adams ($718,169) and North Adams ($860,213), based on enrollments of 131 and 158, respectively.
The total amount of assessments is $3.2 million; Chapter 70 education aid is estimated at $4.6 million, and regional transportation aid at $195,000 (up $20,000 over this year). Other revenue includes $682,802 in tuition.
Budget Chairman Daniel Maloney Jr. explained that the changing budget has a lot to do with the changing population in the area.
"The primary thing that is affecting all schools to some degree is the changes in population in our community," Maloney said. "With changes in enrollments there are changes that need to be made in the schools themselves to adjust to it."
Maloney added that even with the small size of McCann, they can still be affected by enrollment and population changes.
“It’s important that we look to the future and recognize the decisions we make in the budget process, when we add expenses to it, may have an affect on the future," Maloney said. "We aren't immune to shifts in enrollment and shifts in population."
Total enrollment is 539, up slightly over the past few years but still below the most recent high of 559 in 2009.
He expressed concern that as the population and enrollment change, the state will pressure the school into changing its procedures.
"I suggest that the success of this school is because of its size," he said. "If our school was part of a larger district or town, vocational education would take a back seat."