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North Adams Schools Preparing for Big Move, Greylock Closure

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff
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NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The North Adams Public Schools is already preparing for its big move this summer. 
The closure of Greylock School at the end of the school year and the reconfiguring of grades between Brayton and Colegrove Park means relocating classrooms, teachers and students.
Superintendent Barbara Malkas told the School Committee on Tuesday that the goal is to have everything moved by Aug. 15; all packing will be completed by June 14.
"We expect that we will be vacating all classrooms and moving packing materials to staging areas located at each building," she said. Staff will be working around the summer program being held at Greylock so Brayton and Colegrove Park elementeries will be prepared for return to school. 
"We'll worry about decommissioning Greylock as we move into the fall."
The committee authorized the use of up to $75,000 from the School Choice account to support the summer moving expenses. Committee member Richard Alcombright asked if that was going to be enough.
Business Administrator Nancy Rauscher said the quotes and estimates they had received were about $75,000, "so we believe that will be more than enough."
Special accounts will be set up relative to the move and then charge against them.
"We have rented a U-Haul truck to help with supporting the various moves," Malkas said. "We also have some built-in salaries, seasonal salaries, with respect to custodians, facilities for technology, to again help us facilitate moving."
There are also costs related to taking down and reinstalling smart boards from Greylock and Rauscher said the estimate also includes funds for principals to bring in specific staff, such as for help with libraries. 
 To date, staff at all three schools have been working with facilities to prepare floor plans and room assignments. Each classroom being moves has 15 boxes and packing materials and teachers are being given time to pack what they need. The district is also hiring five custodial staff and a technician to help with information technology setups. Rauscher said they have the capacity to take on more help if needed. 
Students in prekindergarten through Grade 2 will move to Brayton; all those in Grades 3-6 will shift to Colegrove Park. 
"On Aug. 23 we have finalize our preparations for school opening because we will be opening on the 26th with district convocation," Malkas said. "Then in September or October we will be working through the process of decommissioning Greylock Elementary School. ...
"Then the committee will have to meet and look at what needs to happen in terms of identifying the need for any supplies or equipment that might be considered surplus."
Once declared surplus, the committee can decide how it wants to sell or dispose of the materials. Malkas said this needs to happen by early October because the school will not be winterized. 
Teachers are being told to take July off and relax because they won't be able to get into either Colgrove or Brayton, the superintendent said. 
"Really there's so many people involved in making this happen," she said. "Until I know that, you know, facilities is set, technology is set, the services are set ... then we'll say yes, teachers can start coming into the building and getting ready."
July will also be time for the summer school program, being held at Greylock, Drury High School and Many Forks Farm in Clarksburg. Coordinator Nancy Pecor, who also manages the Adult Basic Education, gave the School Committee the rundown on some 375 hours of programming planned during the month. 
The annual 21st Century Summer Program runs four weeks in July four hours per day for Kindercamp and seven for Summer Science Camp. Other programming includes the Science Explorers, Imagination Station and Fitness Power with Detective Stephanie Mirante. 
Many Forks will host part of four-week programs for Grades 5-9 learning about crops, animals, construction and cooking. This is a collaboration between the schools, the farm and Greenagers. 
Drury will have two sessions of about 60 students with activities such as music, guitar, role playing, animation and Magic the Gathering. Ten high school interns will also  be working with the lower grades during the summer program. 
Two one-week leadership camps for Grades 5-8 will be held at Windsor Lake in July and August, focusing on team building and first-responders skills and being capped off with a day at Ramblewild. 
Sunshine Camp will also return to Windsor Lake as well as other special education programs. 
The School Committee will not meet again until Aug. 27. 

Tags: NAPS,   school closures,   

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North Adams Council OKs $49M Budget for Fiscal 2025

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The City Council on Tuesday approved a $48,891,455 fiscal 2025 budget, up $1,481,385 or 3.12 percent over this year. 
The budget includes a school budget of $20,357,096, up $302,744 or 1.51 percent over this year. 
The major drivers are the general increases in the cost of supplies, utilities and insurance; a 2 percent cost of living raise for nonunion employees; upgrades in software and equipment; reclassifications of several positions and additional clerical staff. 
Mayor Jennifer Macksey provided the city budget, school budget, compensation and classification plan and capital improvement plan in a bound document with summaries and graphs explaining expenditures. 
Finance Committee members recommended the total to the full City Council, calling it "fiscally responsible."
Councilor Keith Bona, Finance chair, said committee members did raise objections or concerns during deliberations, particularly Councilor Andrew Fitch over the lack of a city planner and Councilor Ashley Shade over the need for more building maintenance. Shade voted against the public safety budget Tuesday over that issue.
"The majority did support each department recommending it to the council and again, there were some some minor changes between the draft budget and what's in front of us," he said. 
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