WILLIAMSTOWN -- Mount Greylock Regional School District officials say the proposed $10.4 million fiscal 2014 budget shows a $170,000 decrease in charter school payments over the current fiscal year.
During a presentation to the Finance Committee on Thursday, Superintendent Rose Ellis said students are choosing the junior-senior high school over Berkshire Arts and Technology Charter Public School in Adams -- enrollment at 565-student Mount Greylock is projected to increase to just over 600 in the fall of 2013.
"That’s a very positive sign for us," she said. "That was quite a big advantage to this budget."
Ellis said the proposed budget is $219,710 more than the current fiscal year.
"What we’re proposing is using the non-appropriated revolvers to cover that gap," Ellis said, referring to the district’s excess and deficiency funds along with school choice revenues.
Though Williamstown’s projected enrollment towards the regional school district increased slightly from last year, it’s assessment is down, Ellis said.
Williamstown’s initial assessment of $4,559,872 is approximately one percent, or $50,169, less than last year, Ellis said. Fellow member town Lanesborough has an initial assessment of $2,551,864, $32,598 more than last year, and saw a slight increase in enrollment.
"And the three-year average of assessment increase to towns has been relatively flat," she added.
The district continues to recover over the economic downturn, Ellis said, as revenue from the state’s Chapter 70 aid has increased approximately $96,000 in the last two years.
However, tuition revenues are lower than estimated.
"They’re about $50,000 less than we estimated they would be," Business Director Joseph Donaghue said.
Ellis said the district has also seen escalating maintenance expenses for the 52-year-old building. The district must budget for mold remediation every summer, she said, and must replace air filters and other parts for the heating system’s unit ventilators.
"The problem is they’re 52 years old, and it’s very hard to find the parts," Ellis said.
The school must also budget $240,000 for heating oil to heat the inefficient building, she added.
"The whole building is not insulated, so that’s a lot of wasted energy," Ellis said.
The district is adding 2.5 full-time staff members, Ellis said, but because of teacher retirements and health insurance costs staying level, the district only stands to spend an additional $55,000.
The district has also benefited greatly from the Jeffrey Family gift, Ellis said. With donations of $135,000 in 2012 and $150,000 in 2013, the school has invested in professional development and technology, with the purchase of 35 ceiling-mounted projectors for classrooms, and new courses.
Other expenses in the district’s budget includes $445,000 for transportation, an increase of 2.5 percent, and the final bond payment for the school’s new roof will be made in November 2013.
To reach Edward Damon, email