Pioneer cuts $70K in salaries, benefits

  • The Pioneer Valley Regional School District School Committee voted to cut $70,650 from elementary school staff salaries, insurance and benefits. Staff File Photo/ANDY CASTILLO

Staff Writer
Published: 7/22/2019 6:41:30 AM

NORTHFIELD — Looking to craft a budget that will receive town approval, the Pioneer Valley Regional School District School Committee voted to cut $70,650 from elementary school staff salaries, insurance and benefits.

The decision, which came during Thursday’s meeting, included $55,000 from elementary school staff salaries and $15,650 from insurance and benefits.

The total sum for reduction for the fiscal year 2020 budget had been voted on during the committee’s previous meeting on July 11. At that time, the committee determined the need for further assessment before deciding which budget categories to cut from.

By cutting from salaries, insurance and benefits, the School Committee hoped to avoid affecting available services for students.

“Our job is to get the best education we can for our kids,” said School Committee member Patricia Shearer. “We tried to do the best we could at the budget subcommittee level to cut what we could and not just maim the whole program.”

Shearer has been serving as acting committee chairwoman while Kristen Gonzalez is absent due to a death in her family.

Following the committee’s vote on Thursday, Shearer read a letter from the Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education Jeffrey C. Riley. The letter was written in support of the committee’s decisions, stating that Riley had approved the revised figure put forth.

The next step in the ongoing process is for the individual district towns to hold Special Town Meetings to vote on the new budget figures.

At Special Town Meetings on Monday, June 17, three out of the four towns in the district rejected the originally proposed budget. Northfield was the only town to approve it. This forced the school district into the state-controlled budget it is currently operating under, until a new agreement is reached.

Until the towns approve a new budget figure, the School Committee will work with a one-twelfth budget, whereby each month the district will receive one-twelfth the amount that was budgeted for last fiscal year.

Zack DeLuca can be reached at zdeluca@recorder.com or 413-772-0261, ext. 264.




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