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Most Mohawk towns  to see hike in budget

Submitted photo
One of Pauline “Cerise” Davis’ custom valentine card creations.

Submitted photo One of Pauline “Cerise” Davis’ custom valentine card creations.

BUCKLAND — The Mohawk Trail Regional School District’s draft budget calls for a collective 2.5 percent assessment increase, and six of the eight member towns will see cost increases of between 2 percent and 12 percent for the coming school year.

The full School Committee will receive its first budget presentation on Wednesday, at 7 p.m. at Mohawk.

The public hearing on the $17.3 million budget proposal takes place on Feb. 20, at 7 p.m., and the school board will be asked to adopt the 2014 fiscal year budget on Feb. 27.

The two towns with an assessment decrease are Charlemont and Heath. Charlemont, with 74 students at Mohawk, will see a $41,620 assessment drop, which is almost a 6 percent decrease. Heath, with 82 students, will have a $23,651 assessment reduction, which is about 3 percent.

Ashfield, with 162 students enrolled this year, may see a $93,323 increase, which is a 5 percent hike. Hawley, with 14 students, will be asked to pay $15,178 more next year, which is a 12.5 percent increase in this town of 330 residents;

The other increases are: Buckland (165 students) $34,282; Colrain (160 students) $60,185; Plainfield (42 students) $15,843, and Shelburne (162 students) $71,467.

Roughly two full-time equivalency positions are to be cut from the following schools: Mohawk high school, Mohawk middle school, Buckland Shelburne Elementary, Sanderson Academy, and Heath Elementary. Colrain Central will lose a part-time worker, as will Mohawk’s central office.

The school district proposes using $200,000 from its “excess and deficiency” revenues to offset assessment impact on member towns. This is the same amount spent this year from that rainy-day fund, for that same purpose.

The budget proposal represents only a 1.4 percent increase over the current spending plan for Mohawk schools, but the assessments are rising as state reimbursement for regional school transportation goes down. Each town’s assessment is based on its five-year enrollment average and on a formula the state uses to determine a town’s minimum contribution requirement.

Also, a group of students will be attending this week’s School Committee meeting with a petition asking school officials not to eliminate the Peer Leadership program or French classes for the coming school year.

One of the plans for next year is to offer students a choice of either Spanish or Chinese language arts, instead of Spanish and French.

The proposed assessment totals are:

Ashfield, $1,882,353; Buckland $1,805,366; Charlemont $660,147; Colrain $1,653,530; Hawley $137,528; Heath $714,954; Plainfield $590,888, and Shelburne $1,768,385.

You can reach Diane Broncaccio at:
dbronc@recorder.com
or 413-772-0261, ext. 277

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