ADAMS, Mass. — The Adams-Cheshire Regional School Committee approved a $19,750,146 budget for fiscal 2019 budget that is a 2.46 percent increase over this year's budget.
During a boilerplate budget hearing in the Hoosac Valley Elementary School auditorium Monday, the committee unanimously passed the uncontroversial spending plan that represents a $474,608 increase.
"With that, we have an approved budget from the School Committee and I want to thank everyone involved in this," Chairman Paul Butler.
The spending plan builds off this year's budget, which brought on additional educational support positions and introduced new programming but at the cost of closing Cheshire Elementary School.
"This budget is good budget based on programming that will improve educational performance," Superintendent Robert Putnam said. "The development of this budget was informed by the Collins Center Report and the Turnaround Plan."
Originally the budget was closer to $19.5 million, however, with the addition of a one-time $200,000 reimbursement from Berkshire Health Group Retiree Drug Subsidy Funds, the budget slightly increased. The payment allowed the school district to keep its health insurance premium splits for retirees the same as this year, although the retirees' portions will rise over the next three years.
Adams' minimal contribution will be $4,414,516 and Cheshire's will be $2,380,847. These amounts are calculated by the state.
The over the minimum assessments, which the school district sets, were purposefully kept low to provide both towns with some relief.
Adams will be assessed $16,535 and Cheshire $5,505.
The total assessment, within the levy limit, for Adams will be $4,966,936 which is a .528 percent increase and the total assessment for Cheshire will be $2,564,184, which is a 2.957 percent increase.
This budget continues to build on this year's budget and funds a full-time school psychologist as well as a new STEM teacher that will allow expanded programming at the high school level.
The meeting was sparsely attended, with mostly administrators and teachers present, and few brought up any substantial issues with the budget. That's a change from recent years when budget deliberations had stoked opposition at meetings. Last year's budget fights left the school district without an approved spending plan coming in the fiscal year.
The budget will now go before both communities for review before going to their respective town meetings.
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