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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Pittsfield Woman Pleads Guilty to Larceny

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Heidi Kushi pleaded guilty in Superior Court for two counts of larceny and was sentenced to state prison.  
 
On Monday, Jan. 30, Heidi Kushi, 57 years old of Pittsfield, pleaded guilty in Superior Court for two counts of larceny by single scheme. She was indited in July of 2019. 
 
The defendant was sentenced to 2 to 5 years in state prison, both counts concurrent, by Judge Agostini. 
 
Kushi, who began working for Donovan Construction in June 2013 as their accountant/bookkeeper, stole $138,772.72 during her time at the company. From June 1, 2013, to the date she was terminated, April 27, 2018, Kushi overpaid herself totaling approximately $38,000. From 2017 the date of termination, Ms. Kushi used the Donovan Construction bank account to pay off credit cards including cards in her elderly mother's name with the defendant identified as an authorized user. 
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