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Northampton School Department Facing More Budget Cuts

BUSESNORTHAMPTON, Mass (WGGB) –When Northampton’s School Department went to bid on their bussing contracts for grades K-8 last week.

They found that the cost came in much higher than expected, to the tune of $225,000. “The current school department budget had eliminated high school bussing. This will create additional pressure on the school department budget even to maintain that level of bussing,” said Mayor David Narkewicz.

Northampton has been using Durham School Services out of Waterville, IL for the last 5 years, sending the school committee their proposed 3.7 million dollar bid on Thursday.

However in an effort to save money ahead of time, last month the school committee voted to eliminate bus service to the High School altogether.

Now the district that is already saddled with the most cuts of any other city organization is forced to look at other potential cuts, with 11 teaching positions already on the line “Perhaps we’re forced to look at how we’re bussing the K-8 students, see if there’s something we can do there, or look at the district itself to see if there are other ways we can balance the budget,” Edward Zuchowski, Vice Chair of Northampton’s School Committee stated.

Proposition 2 1/2 override is one option, which would increase property taxes by about $235 dollars a year for a single family home.

Some of those cuts might not have to take place if the override is passed. Mayor Narkewicz says he’d be able to provide more than $1million, and over $700,000 to other city departments. “It’s a great opportunity for the community to come out & vote & weigh in on how they feel about raising the taxes to offset some financial difficulties we’re having,”

The vote for proposition 2 1/2 override takes place during a special municipal election on June 25th.

Superintendent Brian Salzer will be bringing a new budget proposal before the school committee on Thursday.

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