NAdams property buy gets approval

    The North Adams school board on Tuesday approved the purchase of an East Monroe Street property that school officials said eventually will allow opportunities for greater ingress and egress to the school complex.
    Board attorney Scott Ainsworth said the property at 841 E. Monroe St. was a "government-owned" repossession that carried a price tag higher than what school officials wanted to pay. "We made a (purchase) offer, and they came back with a ridiculously small step" in their counter-offer, Ainsworth said. But as school officials were preparing the walk away from the purchase, the price suddenly dropped again.
    "They came back with an offer of $28,000, and that seems like we were getting a pretty fair deal," Ainsworth said.
    Superintendent Dr. Wylie Sirk said the home will be demolished and "gives us more surface space along East Monroe Street for greater access" to the school grounds.
    The board voted 5-0 to approve the purchase.

    In other business during Tuesday's brief meeting, the board accepted the resignation of veteran high school custodian Nancy Ulman, effective January 22. Ulman has spent more than 25 years at North Adams schools.
    Also accepted was the resignation of Steve Lee as assistant high school softball coach. Joe Baker and Phil Summers were approved as volunteers for the high school boys basketball program.
    In his report to the board, transportation director Larry Carty said the school district may be eligible for a rebate program offered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to remove older, diesel-powered school buses from the road. Carty said North Adams has five buses that may qualify for rebates of up to $25,000 each. He will submit an application for the rebate program.
    Sirk reported that the school district has also applied for Excellence in Performance grants that would allow cash stipends to teachers in the district who have been rated "effective" and "highly effective." The grant, if approved, would provide the stipends at the end of the 2013-14 school year.
    The North Adams district last year received $172,000 in grant funding through the program, which allowed payments of approximately $1,200 each to qualifying teachers.
    Also on Tuesday, the board approved the appointment of Deanna Friedt to the North Adams Athletic Fund board,.