Central Berkshire Regional Eyes Nearly 6% Increase in FY24

By Sabrina DammsiBerkshires Staff
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DALTON, Mass. — The Central Berkshire Regional School District is anticipating a 5.86 percent increase for fiscal 2024, which translates to nearly $2 million over this year.
This year's budget is $29,084,048 and next year's is forecast at $30,788,051, up $1,704,003.
The administration told the School Committee last week that is trying to design a fiscally responsible budget while being conscious of the overall impact to taxpayers in the seven member towns.
The top five operating expenditures are salaries, benefits, special education services, transportation, and operations  andmaintenance. 
The salaries are estimated to be $16,176.001 making up 52.5 percent of the expenditures. 
The benefits including the Other Post-Employment Benefits Trust Fund make up for 24.6 percent, or $7,573,571; special education services is 6 percent, or $1,836,760; transportation costs excluding special education is 5.6 percent, or $1.717.095, and making up the final 5.2 percent is operations and maintenance, at $1,590,262.
The district's operating budget will have a $54,866 expense for retirement contributions. Berkshire County Retirement informed the district that next year's rate increased 7.5 percent. 
The district can also expect an added expense of $268,500 to start paying off the minimum interest and principal for the new Wahconah Regional High School. 
The principal payment for the project is about $125,000. Once the project is closed out after an audit by Massachusetts School Building Authority, this assessment will leave the operating budget.
In terms of technology, the district will need to replace the server storage array system and camera network video recorders, adding an expense of $40,000 to the operating budget. 
The server storage area has not been replaced in about five to 10 years and makes up approximately 50 percent of the $40,000.
The district has had multiple full-time equivalents added to this year's budget but career coordinator is only that has been added to the operating budget. The position was funded through Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation for the last two years and the position has been working well, administrators said.
This resource is something they would like to continue to have so $30,000 was added to the operating budget to fund it. 
The operations budget will also have an expense of $48,000 to cover transportation. The district is moving into its second year of a five-year contract and will see a 3 percent increase each year. 
This year, the district is expected to have $2,748,442 in revenue from athletics, school choice, circuit breaker, food services, and grants. Fiscal 2024 is projected to increase revenues by more than a half-million to $3,502,110. 

Tags: CBRSD,   fiscal 2024,   

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DA Clears Trooper in Fatal Hancock Shooting

By Brittany PolitoiBerkshires Staff

District Attorney Timothy Shugrue says the results of an autopsy by the medical examiner will not change his findings, which are based on the video and witnesses. With him are State Police Lts. Chris Bruno and Ryan Dickinson and First Assistant District Attorney Marianne Shelvey.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — District Attorney Timothy Shugrue has determined that State Police Trooper William Munch acted in compliance during what is being described as a "suicide by cop" earlier this month.
On Sept. 9, 64-year-old Phillip Henault reportedly placed a fictitious 911 call about an ongoing violent assault. Body-camera footage from the trooper shows the man advancing on him with two knives before being shot twice and collapsing in the street in front of his Richmond Road residence.
"Mr. Henault was actively using deadly force against law enforcement. There were no other objectively reasonable means that the trooper could have employed at the time in order to effectively protect himself and anyone that was in the home or the public. By virtue of his duties as a police officer, the trooper did not have the obligation to run away from Mr. Henault," Shugrue said during a press conference on Friday.
"Mr. Henault posed an active threat to the trooper and to the public. The trooper had a duty to arrest Mr. Henault who was engaged in various felonies. His arm was an active threat."
The DA determined that Munch's decision to fire his weapon at Henault under the circumstances was a "lawful and reasonable exercise of self-defense and defense of others" compliance with the policies of the State Police and commonwealth law, clearing the trooper of criminal charges and closing the investigation.
The lethal force was labeled as an "unavoidable last resort."
A preliminary autopsy determined the unofficial cause of death was two gunshot wounds to the torso with contributing factors of wounds to the wrists that were inflicted by Heneault. The final report from the medical examiner has not been issued.
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