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.
The School Department was close to closing all of its preschool classes at Morningside and Conte Community School, two schools that need it the most.
But, between state legislators and the union, there will at least be a few. The state budget includes $50,000 to help fund those programs.
School Committee Daniel Elias was at the bank the other day when he ran into two school employees, both of which could be part of the 73.5 reduction in staffing this year.
"We can't lose sight of the faces that are attached to these numbers," Elias said.