Pittsfield School Committee OKs $72M Fiscal 2023 Budget

By Brittany PolitoiBerkshires Staff
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The School Committee on Wednesday adopted a $72 million operating budget for fiscal 2023. It will go to the City Council in early June for final approval.

The budget of $72,398,262 is a 7.56 percent, or $5,086,562, increase from this year. Most of the increase is in contractual obligations, which increased by about $4.7 million.

Superintendent Joseph Curtis said this includes resources to ultimately settle with the American Federation of Teachers.

Members of Local 1315 AFT, which includes bus drivers and attendants, cafeteria workers, custodians, paraprofessionals, and educational secretaries, have called for better compensation from the district.

"In other words, we're bargaining in good faith here," Chair William Cameron said at the committee's meeting on Wednesday.

Within the budget is $1,895,347 for administration, $55,822,847 for instructional, $4,526,341 for other school services, $6,372,746 for operations and maintenance, $472,358 for fixed costs, $68,074 for adult learning, $234,047 for acquisition of fixed assets, and $3,626,502 for tuition payments.

With $570,000 in school choice revenues and $50,000 in Richmond tuition revenues, the total budget amounts to $73,018,262.

Mayor Linda Tyer expressed concern for the district and the city’s agreement with non-resident student tuition.

As it stands, if at least 20 students are registered as non-residents, the funds associated with 12 students will go toward the district’s budget and the rest to the city budget. If less than 20 students are registered as non-residents, all of the revenue goes to the city.

The agreement was made decades ago.

"Past school committees approved this?" Tyer asked in disbelief. "I assume there's a record somewhere and we don't have to get into it now but that really surprises me. I mean, it just doesn't seem like it's in the best interest of our schools, our students to have it set up this way."

Tyer said that she would like to review this structure at another time, expressing that she doesn’t think it is the right way to conduct business.  She recognized that it will not be solved for the fiscal year 2023 but suggested conveying the finance subcommittee with herself and Finance Director Matthew Kerwood to take it up and the committee agreed.

"I can tell you in my conversations with other superintendents, they thought this was problematic because that money that other districts take in typically goes towards staffing and equipment," Assistant Superintendent Tammy Gage said.

During this meeting, the committee also approved school choice participation for the 2022-2023 school year.

Tags: fiscal 2023,   pittsfield_budget,   school budget,   

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Indoors Out! Free Kids' Paint and Sip in Pittsfield

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Downtown Pittsfield, Inc. will present Indoors Out! Free Kids' Paint & Sip on Friday, July 1, 5-7:30 pm, at the parklet and outdoor seating area at The Marketplace Café, 53 North Street. 
This event will be held in conjunction with the July 1st First Fridays Artswalk which will take place in a dozen locations in downtown Pittsfield from 5 to 8 pm. 
This free event is best suited for ages 5 to 12, although older children are welcome. 
All materials, instruction, snacks, and juice will be provided. 
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