Educators and supporters in the county's two cities rallied on Monday for more educational funding even as school officials prepare for budget scenarios that could cost dozens of teaching positions and school closures.
The School Committee set a spending plan for an extra $1.3 million increase in state funding that it hadn't anticipated Monday night.
The plan is eyed to benefit the middle and elementary schools as well as alternative programs.
The state Senate's budget would give an additional $5 million in funding to Pittsfield Public Schools.
But, is only addressing one of four areas cited by the Foundation Formula Budget Review Commission, which found in 2015 that the state has dramatically underfunded the public schools for health care, special education, English language learners, and economically disadvantaged students.
When the school gymnasium is full of excitement and noise for a rally, there are some children don't respond well.
They put cover their heads and cry. But, they wouldn't if they had a paraprofessional with them. A couple of years ago the city of Pittsfield cut more than 30 paraprofessional positions from the school's budget and parent Starr Williams asks that people envision each one of those paraprofessionals as being one child covering their heads and crying.
School officials on Tuesday approved a resolution supporting changes to the Chapter 70 state aid formula for education that could bring more than $2 million in state funding to the North Adams Public Schools.
The governor's proposed budget brings good news to the Pittsfield Public Schools.
Gov. Charlie Baker released his proposed budget on Wednesday along with cherry sheets for local schools. As proposed, the city would see a $3.7 million increase in Chapter 70 aid for schools. That would make two consecutive years in which the district saw a significant boost in funding.
Rural schools will receive additional support this year after Sen. Adam Hinds successfully secured a $1.5 million budget allocation for additional aid.
The budget line provides districts below certain incomes and density $100 extra per student. The sparsity aid program helps rural schools with funding struggles keep up with larger schools throughout the state.