Superintendent Jason McCandless is scaling back his budget request by about a half million dollars.
McCandless said he had a meeting with Mayor Linda Tyer and Director of Finance Matthew Kerwood since revealing his initial request for a $3.4 million increase to the budget and the three agreed to a lesser number. Particularly, McCandless said the number of new positions, mostly new paraprofessionals, is being scaled back.
After hearing from several teachers at the elementary and high school level who argued against the cut, the six members of the seven-person panel in attendance voted unanimously to restore about $6,000 to the $22.4 million gross operating budget for the three-school, PreK-12 district.
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.
Tuition payments are down significantly this year but the savings is being eaten up by other areas of the school budget.
Deputy Superintendent Kristin Behnke provided the School Committee with a mid-year budget report on Wednesday. The good news is that the trend appears to a show a surplus at the end of the year, thanks to the tuition savings and other under budget trending lines.
The School Committee on Monday approved a $17.7 million budget for fiscal 2019 that is up just under 2 percent from this year.
The City Council is expected to approve the school budget Tuesday night as part of the city's overall spending plan for fiscal 2019.
In other business last week, the committee appointed Boulger and Chairman and Mayor Thomas Bernard to the Shared Services Subcommittee made up of the Northern Berkshire school districts.
The creation of this subcommittee came out of the discussions of possibly sharing a superintendent with the Adams-Cheshire Regional School district.
The Selectmen have tentatively scheduled a special town meeting on Monday, July 17, to try again to pass the Adams-Cheshire Regional School District budget.
Officials met with School committee Chairman Paul Butler on Tuesday night to figure out the next steps in the budget process and with coming deadlines, both they and Butler agreed it would be prudent to have a budget in place sooner than later.