Sep 18, 2020

North Adams City Council Finance Committee Budget Meeting

May 08, 2019
Meetings & Notices

North Adams City Council Finance Committee
Budget Meeting
Wednesday, May 8, 2019, 6:30 p.m. V City Council Chambers

Call to order
Approval of minutes
Discussion: Northern Berkshire Vocational School District
Discussion: North Adams Public Schools
Discussion: North Adams Public Schools free/reduced meals program review as assigned from City Council

cc: Mayor Thomas Bernard
Michael Canales
North Adams City Council Finance Committee Meeting for Fiscal 2020, Meeting #3, May 8, 2019
Call to Order at 6:30 p.m.
Committee Attendance: Committee Chair Harpin, Councilor Cohen, Councilor Wilkinson
Other Counselors present: Council President Bona, Councilor LaForest, Councilor Buddington
Approval of minutes from April 24th, all in favor.
Discussion: North Adams Public Schools
Superintendent Dr. Malkas came to address any questions or concerns. She stated it was a level service budget with 2% increase, $17 million commitment and $265k appropriated from school choice reserve to balance budget. The budget was approved by School Committee on May 7th. Total FT employee is unchanged and .5 is increase from Business Manager going from shared service with NB School Union to FT with North Adams. Dr. Malkas said she was adding the ability to manage grants as part of the new FT position.
Councilor Harpin asked where we stood in regionalization if there was room for more shared services. Dr. Malkas stated there was shared services in food service in Savoy and with BART Charter in Adams, along with shared services at the Northern Berkshire Academy. She stated it was the districts philosophy to embrace any shared service opportunities.
Councilor Bona asked what we save on food service. Dr. Malkas said Savoy is just another site and BART is a vendor.
Councilor Harpin asked if we allocate enough in shared services contract to account for health insurance? Dr. Malkas said the food service contracts are based on PT employees with no insurance and the NB Academy did take the total cost of employees and other expenses when calculating the tuition costs.
Councilor Harpin asked to talk about the meals programs in relation to any further government shut-down. Dr. Malkas stated we are generally ahead one month by ordering ahead by one month and also allowed to have up to three months of reserves for the food service program. This generally indicates we would be funded 3-4 months out in any situation. Any shut downs going further out than 4 months would be advocating to state and federal government to allow programs to maintain services.
Dr. Malkas stated we serve 1,400 lunches a day and won a gold standard award for breakfast. In addition, we have after school and summer school programs for anyone to eat that is under 18 years old.
Councilor Cohen asked about lower salaries at Drury and Dr. Malkas stated its from veteran retirees and new employees taking jobs. 1.5% increase is negotiated in union contract while Admins get same or higher.
Mr. Gilman inquired about reallocation of services in grad 7 & 8. Yes, looking for more rigorous structure.
Councilor LaForest inquired if $250k in reserve school choice reserve be replaced. Dr. Malkas said generally once child is in school choice they generally tend to continue so can predict reserve to stay the same. Currently, have $1 million in reserve account.
Councilor LaForest asked if there were any services cut and Dr. Malkas stated there has been funding reallocations and weve have level service and better quality in Drury.
Councilor LaForest ask if NB Academy will have own budget and yes they will and they are employees of North Adams but pension is a state pension.
Councilor Harpin asked if they plan any renewable solar projects to reduce energy costs. Dr. Malkas stated they are active in the citys net metering credits and Colegrove is Lead efficient due to the recent renovations. Greylock needs a new furnace.
Northern Berkshire Vocational School District V Superintendent Mr. Brosnan and School Committee Finance Chair Mr. Maloney addressed the Committee. The appropriation for North Adams dropped from last year by approx. 37k due to lower North Adams enrollment. However, in general McCann has held their student enrollment steady over last five years which is high compared to other Berkshire schools.
Mr. Maloney stated this was a maintenance budget and they have an exceptional staff that allows the school to be able to present this budget which uses creative grants for positions and equipment. Health insurance is 0 percent increase which is amazing as employees changed plans. The district uses the building as efficiently and effectively as possible by using after hours training. The district is looking for a Coop Coordinator to replace long time employee to work with students and Mass-hire.
Councilor Bona asked if they still accept 100% of applicants? Yes.
Councilor Cohen asked if staff was new? Yes with no expected movement in next few years.
Mr. Brosnan went through each section of budget that compared similar to the past prior years and level-funded budget.
Mr. Maloney indicated they will need a new roof and some windows in the next few years as building was built in the 1960s with original windows and roof.

cc: Mayor Thomas Bernard
Michael Canales