Berkshire Hills approves $26.5 million spending plan

Muddy Brook Elementary School

GREAT BARRINGTON — The Berkshire Hills Regional School District now has a budget proposal to put forward to voters later this spring.

After an unusually late discussion on reallocating funds, the committee on Thursday, March 9, unanimously endorsed a gross operating budget of $26.5 million, an increase of 3.89 percent over last year.

The budget calls for an increase in Great Barrington’s assessment of almost 6 percent, with an increase in Stockbridge of 1.16 percent and a decrease in West Stockbridge of 4.58 percent. The differences in assessment increases among the member towns is mostly a reflection of their respective student enrollment numbers.

The main bone of contention during the meeting was whether to cut an art teacher position and an assistant to the occupational therapist.

But after hearing from the therapist, Pam Hassett, who insisted the “reduction in force … will have a great impact on students requiring services,” the committee was convinced the occupational therapy assistant position should remain.

In order to keep the budget the same as it was at last month’s public hearing, the committee voted to spend an additional $25,000 from a reserve account known as the excess and deficiency fund. No art teacher positions were cut.

The school district budget will be voted on by all three Berkshire Hills member towns at annual town meetings in May.

For more on this story, pick up a copy of the March 17 edition of the Berkshire Record.

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