NA faces $1M revenue drop

    North Adams Community Schools will operate during the upcoming year with a revenue reduction of more than $1 million from 2010 levels, Superintendent Wylie Sirk reported Tuesday during the monthly school board meeting.
    Sirk said a $279,000 drop in basic state financial aid, coupled with a $580,000 rollback ordered by Gov. Mitch Daniels and a 5 percent increase in health insurance premiums that will take effect in January are the principal factors behind the $1 million shortfall.
    The health insurance premium hike alone will cost the district more than $230,000, the superintendent said.
    "We're talking a deficit here, and it's important that we use these figures to justify our decisions in the future," Sirk told the board.

    In other business during this week's meeting, North Adams Business Manager Larry Carty reported that a roofing project at Northwest Elementary has been completed at a cost of $203,227 — nearly $6,000 lower than the quoted price for the project. He also noted that minor roof work is currently being undertaken on the roof at Bellmont Middle School.
    Exterior wall deficiencies and water leakage conditions at the middle school are also being evaluated, Carty said, with results of that evaluation to determine how capital project funds are expended in 2011.
    The business manager reported that remaining stumps of recently removed ash trees on the Bellmont campus have now been eliminated. The school district has planted some 200 small trees in the last year to fill the void left by the ash trees, and Carty said he is currently working with Decatur Forester Dwight Pierce on an application for grant funds that would allow larger trees to be planted on the campus.
    Also on Tuesday, the school board:
    • Approved a trip by some 48 members of the high school concert band to Washngton, D.C., during spring break of 2012.
    • Accepted the retirement of longtime teacher and coach Lou Koning at the end of the current school year. Also retiring, effective Oct. 29, is food service employee Shirley Brown.
    • Approved the assignment of Josh Salway as seventh-grade boys basketball coach, and Kevin Burkhalter as a middle school football volunteer.