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Mohawk plans job cuts to hold budget costs

BUCKLAND — A draft budget proposal for the Mohawk Trail Regional School District shows a collective 2.5 percent assessment increase for its eight member towns, with a staffing cut of about two full-time positions for all schools except Colrain Central.

The $17.3 million budget plan will be presented to the full committee at its Feb. 13 meeting, and at a public hearing scheduled for Feb. 20.

The town-by-town assessment breakdown is not yet available and will be given to the Mohawk School Committee at its Feb. 13 meeting, at 7 p.m. at the school.

Although the proposal represents a 1.4 percent increase over this year’s $17.1 million budget, the town assessments are going up because revenues are not keeping up with cost increases. While the proposed budget is for $242,348 more than was requested this year, revenues are only expected to go up by about $7,488.

Also, enrollment is expected to drop slightly, by about 30 students from throughout the district. Also, regional school transportation reimbursement is expected to come in at $380,000, which is about 55 percent reimbursement for the district’s school buses. When Mohawk became a K-12 regional school district, the state was promising full reimbursement for regional transportation, but 100 percent reimbursement never came to pass. The current level for Mohawk is about $54,609 less than what the district got for regional transportation aid two years ago.

The proposed staffing cuts are listed according to school building, and the specific positions are not spelled out in the worksheet given to School Committee members. Also, they list “full time equivalency” (FTE) numbers, which could mean reductions in either full-time staff members or in several part-time staffers, whose combined hours represent an FTE.

Roughly 2 FTE 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.

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

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