The School Committee on Wednesday voted to reduce the school budget by another $250,000.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The School Committee on Wednesday approved a pared-down fiscal 2012 budget that includes another $250,000 added to nearly a quarter million in cuts and the loss of a director of curriculum.
Superintendent of Schools James Montepare presented a budget of $15.29, nearly a half-million below last year's budget, at the noontime meeting.
Superintendent James Montepare said the reductions include the elimination of a director of curriculum.
That budget was built on hope that a Proposition 2 1/2 override would be pass; it didn't and Mayor Richard Alcombright will have to present a "Plan B" budget to the council on July 26 that covers a $1.4 million deficit.
"[The school reductions] all comes out to about $1.3 million worth of cuts this year because when we start this process and put everything in, we topped out at about $16.54 million," said Montepare. "So to get to ground zero, we cut about $700,300."
The school system could only cut about $340,000 this round before running afoul of state-mandated minimum spending. "We're right on, we wouldn't want to go any closer," said Montepare of further reductions.
Some $36,000 has been cut out of the operational side, including automobile expenses for the superintendent and business manager and reducations in contracted services and maintenance.
The bigger hit was in salary reductions, with the elimination of the curriculum director ($66,752), a tech teacher at Drury ($58,182), Sullivan kindergarten teacher ($45,000), and a science post ($45,000) at Brayton. Added back in are a Drury High physical education teacher and a speech pathologist.
Committee member Mary Lou Acetta expressed concern about taking resources from Brayton School. "It's the largest population and a population that needs a lot of services."
Montepare said when the budget review started, "we really tried to make sure that all of the bases were covered, and I think we juggled some positions around to accommodate some of the higher-number classrooms."
Mayor Richard Alcombright, chairman of the School Committee, said the budget he will bring before the Finance Committee on Monday shows a lot of compromise.
The budget reflects the loss of 10.5 teaching positions, three administrative positions, four teaching assistant posts, a custodial job and a half-time tutor. Some of the posts are being left vacant because of retirements, some staff members are being moved into grant-funded positions or having hours reduced, and about six are losing their jobs.
At the same time, the schools "are bursting at the seams," said Montepare, despite a state study that forecast a drop in enrollment.
"I don't see it going down," he said. "They said we'd have 1,300 kids three years from now; we're at 1,600. We're not going to lose 300 kids in three years."
Committee member William G. Schrade Jr. noted that Montepare was taking on yet another role with the loss of a curriculum director; he's down three administrative positions.
"I appreciate everything you've done and support it ... but you're wearing about 17 different hats as superintendent," he said, adding the schools will have to start refilling those positions because "at some point you're going to want to retire."
Editor's Note: We had our amounts backward and have fixed them.
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Could someone in the know please explain the elimination of the Sullivan Kindergarten position. Does this mean just one Kindergarten next year? Is this the setting for a half day Kindergarten? That one sounds like a really hard position to lose.
What, that's it? Don't get me wrong, I am very glad that is it.....but....what about all the things that were on Dick's "Will be cut if this doesnt pass slide"...band, drama, pay for athletics, pay for kindergarten.....plain and simple, they were scare tactics. Dick, you will never be trusted again.
Folks we tried - we thought change would be good for this City and everyone was swept up in that notion. Now we see that perhaps we were wrong and unfortunately we now have incompetent weak leadership in our City. We must now face the facts and realize that much CITY money was wasted on the Mayor's agenda and getting the override to pass. Fortunately the majority saw through these scare tactics, and yes that is blatantly what was unprofessionally used - scare tactics, and called the mayor out. We now as a community must look back at the mess that has occurred in the last year and a half and consider our options to correct this. It is unfortunate but we need to start at the top and come November we need to once again make some changes to get back on track and prevent further damage and undoing of what took so long for us to be proud of in this City.
What is a director of cirriculum anyway? In my day their were team leads who filled this useless role. For example, the Math department had a team lead, the Biology dept had one, etc. Seems to be quite a lot of fat their Joe M. How about you take some of the brunt and take a 1% pay cut?
Sadly, it is the children that are affected the most, bigger classes and no teacher's assistants means less one on one instruction. The United States is always stressing about making American students number one. How can we be, when the government is sending money overseas, which affects individual states, then it trickles down to cities and towns budgets being cut in education. One suggestion to save money is to move the transition program from Johnson back to Drury and park the North Adams School Vans. I always see them out driving around during the day with no kids or I see high school students hanging around extra mart with the van. My tax dollars pay for these kids to be in school, not our riding around.
I might tend to agree with you NoMore, but... who else is running? So far haven't seen one single candidate coming out to take out papers for Mayor. Boucher toyed with the idea, but announced on his show a few weeks back he would not be running for Mayor. Barrett? Even with the override defeat, I doubt he could win. Bond? Lord help us. Have you heard of any sure-fire candidates? I'll jump on your bandwagon, but please tell me who's running.
I wish I knew...seriously...I am really hoping John Barrett runs (here is his slogan, "See I Told You So"), but I dont think he will. I really dont know who could. Boucher would have been nice. Marie Harpin doesnt have the interest. The other councilors are just Alcombright light...or worse....
Maybe Paul Babeau could come back from the Arizona border?
I think everyone needs to understand that the mayor didn;t ask for our state funding to be cut. And sure Barrett never had these problems, but then again Barett cooked the books. So, I would rather have an honest prson running the city and make cuts and such then have someone who cheats and lies to get his money. The city was NEVER as financially sound as Barret made it out to be he made sure that it looked it to the city folks. I'd rather know the truth about the citys finances tehn have a false sense of security. It's called reality....
Here's the thing, the reason the Tourim Director is a a sacred ccw is clear.. A successfule Tourism Director will increase tourism in the City. Those visitors will generate more tax revenue. Those taxes will pay for services. Tourism = more money for schools. Plain and simple.
NoMore, Babeu would be the worst possible alternative. Let him stay on the border, where the worst he can do is cause an international incident. I think if Barrett was going to run, he would have announced by now to pick up the momentum from the override defeat. Believe it or not, Alcombright might be the only candidate on the ballot for Mayor, and hopefully he's learned to be more cautious.
Alcombright is running this city on 4 million less and fewer administrative staff than Barrett had his final years. Barrett talked about how hard times were coming but kept his city vehicles, $5000 bonus stipend and constant raises, all of which Alcombright gave up. The override would have helped. Not having to pay a million dollars into the insurance fund that Barrett forget would help. Since it failed and Alcombright is managing enough cuts to balance the budget those who were against the prop 2.5 are upset that he's doing the job. I'm happy Alcombright is mayor during these tough times. He's not being a poor sport over the special election or sending henchman after anyone. He's doing his job in very tough times.
I Believe many people may agree with this statement and if people truly are concerned for the future of North Adams and want to see it succeed then I am sure I will be supported. I for one believe that there is only one man who can get North Adams back on the right track and that is the former mayor - Barrett. Would he run? I do not know. Should he run? No- the people of North Adams acted foolishly (I was one of them) and thought that a nice guy could run the City better and therefore if anything he should be laughing at this major mess. Can I hope that he runs? Yes - as I believe this is the most qualified boss for the City. We need to do what is best for the City and our livelihoods. I honestly believe that is getting Barrett back for 2 years to straighten out the mess.
The $5000 stipend Barrett received each year was eliminated right after Alcombright took office. That's 6% cut. He eliminated two vehicles Barrett used as personal vehicles. There's another $5000 in insurance, gas, and depreciation. You only asked for 1%. He's cut close to 10%. If Barrett was still in there he's have another new vehicle by now and another raise.
My question to those who say Barrett cooked the books is how did he do it for 25 years and how did it go undetected by numerous people in city hall as well as the state department of revenue? How disappointed you all must have been when they found everything in order. Like it or not Barrett did the job and he kept the city affordable for us all. Look back at what North Adams was like when he became mayor and compare it to the city he turned over to Alcombright. I know for a fact that what is happening in North Adams now is eating away at Barrett. Like others would I would like him back but my advice to him don't do it. People close to him say he has not decided as he is happy doing other things but his love of North Adams may convince him to run. He did his time and after 25 years there are still some people making stupid statements about him cooking the books. The two cars you claim Alcombright eliminated can be seen outside of city hall each day being used by two other employess, in fact Alcombright bought his public works guy a new car. I would love to see Barrett come back for two years and clean up the mess, but the question is will he. Hey John look at all the fun you could have and people would never be critical-not! Don't do it because they will never appreciate all you did for North Adams.
Sue Let me guess ,you are on the payroll. Please tell us what he did with the two vehicles that are as you say not insured or use any gas??? The mayor has on more than one occasion told a very different story than you. So one would assume one of you are lying.
Editor: I see, her second comment. They were removed from the mayor's salary/stipend so she is technically right about his wages but the vehicles were being used by other departments. I Agree (0) - I Disagree (0)
Often it is cheaper to give a vehicle to a high mileage employee than to reimburse them at the IRS rate. This is especially true if you can pool vehicles and you have several employees who drive for their jobs.
It is my guess that the inspectors and such put at least 1,000 - 5,000 miles a year on a car in work related driving, some even more.
At $.52 / mile reimbursement, it makes sense to have a city paid car available for regular use.
:: Preliminary Election: Deadline to register is Wednesday, Sept. 7. (Office open from 8 to 8.)
:: General Election: Deadline to register is Tuesday, Oct. 18
Registration can be completed at the city clerk's office at City Hall.
Absentee ballots are now available at the city clerk's office for the Sept. 27 preliminary city election. Voters may come in between the hours of 8 and 4:30 weekdays. Written reguests for mailed ballots can be sent to City Clerk's Office, 10 Main St., North Adams, MA 01247. Deadline for absentee ballots is Monday, Sept. 26, at noon.
The preliminary election will be held Tuesday, Sept. 27, to narrow the field of three mayoral candidates to two. The general election to select nine city councilors and a mayor will be held Tuesday, Nov. 8.