Mabel Hamilton remembers when stories of the African American history wasn't just passed down from family to family, it was reinforced in schools.
The city school system had offered African American studies classes, delving into the history and contributions of the black community as part of the American story. But a few decades ago, the school district cut the class and that history faded from the curriculum.
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.
City officials are looking to address ongoing issues of violence in schools and parks.
Mayor Linda Tyer, Police Chief Michael Wynn, Superintendent Jason McCandless, and District Attorney Andrea Harrington released a joint statement on Friday addressing the growing concern over the incidents.
Superintendent Jason McCandless is asking for a $3.4 million increase to the school's budget.
The large 5.7 percent increase comes as Gov. Charlie Baker has proposed a budget that gives the city $3.7 million more in Chapter 70 state aid for schools. The request comes with a number of new initiatives and positions which McCandless said will bolster specific areas the district has identified as problematic areas.
The most recent high water mark for enrollment in the Pittsfield Public Schools was 7,000 students in 1996.
That number is down to 5,491. Schools like Morningside had 658 students then and now have just 374. Conte had 540 and now has 367. Reid Middle School had 803 students compared to 552 today.
The final payment for the school bus fleet is moving to the city's side of the budget.
At the public hearing on the School Department's proposed budget Wednesday, Superintendent Jason McCandless said the $558,469 payment is being pulled from the budget request.
Wednesday marks another year for the Pittsfield School Department.
Teachers have already returned to classrooms ahead of time but Wednesday morning teacher, local officials, and members of the Police and Fire Departments will stand outside of the city's elementary and middle schools, rolling out the red carpet for the students who will enter the doors. The following day, the high schoolers return bringing enrollment up to more than 5,500 throughout 12 city schools.