SBRSD FY2023 Budget Information

SBRSDEagles

Southern Berkshire Regional School District

Dear Valued Community Member,

In advance of each of your respective town meetings, the Southern Berkshire Regional School District (SBRSD)

has prepared this flyer to share with you on how the FY23 budget proposal was developed.

The preparation of the annual school budget is both a major undertaking and important task. It requires the

evaluation of programs, prioritization of district needs and goals, review of local, state, federal requirements, all

with an eye on the impact to taxpayers. This process has been further complicated by the effect that the pandemic

continues to have on our educational system. The Superintendent, in collaboration with Administration, Faculty

and Staff, and the School Committee, have prepared the FY23 budget proposal for your consideration.

We believe the following budget proposal supports our commitment to be as effective and efficient with our

resources, promotes alignment with student needs, and strives to keep assessments to the towns manageable.

Please note that since 2017 the District’s Operating Budget increases on average have been 2.05%.

FY23 Budget Overview

FY22 Budget: $17,794,556

FY23 Preliminary Budget: $18,474,140

Dollar Increase: $ 679,584

Percent increase: 3.82%

What follows in this newsletter are highlights of the FY23 Budget

Proposal in our quest to provide clear communication to the towns of

the Southern Berkshire Regional School District.

Sincerely,

Dr. Beth L. Regulbuto, Ed.D., SFO

Superintendent of Schools

SBRSD 2022

Table of Contents

2023 Budget Update 1-3

Early Elementary 4

RSDPB Update 5

Alumni Spotlight 6

Early College 6

Pathways 7


The following highlights of the FY23

Budget Proposal are as follows:

• The District is facing steep inflation of costs in supplies,

materials, and services:

o Inflation rate at 5.9% - state funding formula

capped at 4.5%

o After multiple bids, the transportation contract proposal

came in at increase of >30%

o Health insurance increase of 8%

o Energy costs increases of 30%

o Contracted services cost increases

• Capital Projects funded at $343,500.

• Revenue for tuitions continue to increase - $112k.

• This proposal continues the late buses for next year as part

of our fleet.

• Includes funding for on-going Professional Development

and external coaching for the Math Initiative at the Elementary

& Middle School Levels.

• A revisioning of what it means to have a successful K-12

experience through programming innovations such as the

expansion of the internship program and the Early College

Designation.

• With expanded graduation requirements starting with the

Class of 2023, Mt. Everett will be offering students the

opportunity to graduate with a college and career-focused

diploma as well as at least one internship experience related

to the five career pathways developed as a collaboration

between faculty and administrators in response to the need

for a highly skilled workforce. We will be looking to the

communities to help us evolve our Internship Partnership

Task Force into an Education/Business Coalition!

• The District is continuing to review and expand Early

Childhood Programs, including Pre-Kindergarten, Early

Kindergarten, and Kindergarten, across the district, as well

as the consideration of the development of an Early Childhood

Center.

o Piloting practices for learning and curriculum models

via DESE and the Department of Early Education

and Care (EEC) for PK-grade 3.

o The Early Childhood program registration and

screening process now includes the mandated Dyslexia

screening for all Pre-K + Kindergarten students.

o The screening process has been moved to help the

team make informed decisions about Early Childhood

program placement and includes Pre-K this year.

o The Early Childhood Task Force is established and

meeting regularly to advance this work.

• Excess & Deficiency Fund – Is certified at just under the

5% maximum at $845k. We are proposing a contribution of

$700k to suppress assessments in FY23.

• Proposed using $700k of School Choice funds to help reduce

assessment increases to the member towns.

• We are currently negotiating with all bargaining units with

the hope of settling a 3-year contract for FY23-FY25

• The HVAC system replacement is moving forward in phases

due to the bids coming in significantly higher than the

initial estimates. The District is using state grant funds (ESSR

grants) rather than going to the member towns to borrow

for the project. To fund the next phases, the District plans

to apply for the state funding opportunities set aside by the

Governor for HVAC infrastructure repairs and replacements.

• It is important (and exciting) to note that there was no

change in our overall enrollment numbers this year. Our

total enrollment stayed strong and consistent despite the

inconsistencies the pandemic brought upon us.

Second grade students enjoy a movement break following their morning studies.


Elementary Choir Class

What Are You Investing In?

Specifically, the budget is an investment in:

o Significant Expansion in Early College

Opportunities

o Maintains Collaboration & Curriculum

Writing Time

o Focus on Reinvigorating Project Based Learning

Programs

o Program Enhancement or Development –

Enrichment of Pathways

o In-District Inclusive Programming for Students

o Early Childhood Programming and

District Needs

o Social Emotional Skills and Supports for

School Community

o Student Success for ALL students - Based on

their Interests and Needs

FY23 Proposed Assessments

Alford

Egremont

Monterey

New Marlborough

Sheffield

Total - All

FY22

448,538

1,757,965

1,678,894

2,785,867

7,568,836

14,240,100

FY23

449,604

1,950,932

1,854,452

2,708,400

7,803,226

14,766,613

FY22-23

1,066

192,967

175,558

(77,467)

234,390

526,513

%CHG

.24%

10.98%

10.46%

-2.78%

3.10%

3.70%

Below you will see a schedule with your town’s meeting date and time.

We urge you to participate.

May 7, 2022 Town of Monterey 9:30 a.m.

May 2, 2022 Town of Sheffield 7:00 p.m.

May 3, 2022 Town of Egremont 6:00 p.m.

May 10, 2022 Town of Alford 6:00 p.m.

May 2, 2022 Town of New Marlborough 7:00 p.m.

For more information,

please visit

www.sbrsd.org/budgets.

Our staff are always ready

to answer any additional

questions.

3


EARLY ELEMENTARY

Southern Berkshire Regional School District is committed

to providing a developmentally appropriate, school-based

learning experience for children

ages 3 and up. Early

intervention and supports

provided at a young age

are known to assist young

children in preparation for

Kindergarten. In 2021-

22, SBRSD increased the

number of PK classrooms

from 2-4, to expand this

early learning opportunity.

Developmental interventions,

such as social-emotional,

fine and gross motor,

early literacy and numeracy,

and speech/language, are

offered in each classroom by a licensed specialist in each

area. Students also participate in specials such as music,

art, and physical education. Screenings are conducted

for both Pre-K and Kindergarten students prior to entering

the program (as much as possible). The screening is a

well-researched, evidence-based, series of tools designed

to provide information on developmental skills in a variety

of areas, including gross and fine motor skills, academic

readiness, and speech/language development. The Kindergarten

screening also contains components of the mandated

Dyslexia screening, which became a required component of

the Kindergarten assessment process. Information from

the results gathered during

the screenings is used to help

identify appropriate placement

in our programs. The budget

supports the expansion of our

early childhood and screening

assessment programs.

The Early Childhood Program

at SBRSD is focused on creating

an inclusive learning experience

for all children, ages 3-6, in the

full-day school setting. Developmentally

appropriate curriculum,

based on the Boston PK-3

model, is one foundation for

our program. Pre-Kindergarten

programs are currently located in the Undermountain Elementary

School and New Marlborough Central. Currently,

48 students access that program.

The district is working with local agencies to explore extended

day opportunities for our students in PK-grade 2 and

beyond, as a means to providing a full-spectrum experience

to students and families.

Mt. Everett’s Spring Musical – “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee”

Elementary students participate in “Read Across America”


RSDPB UPDATE

It is now two years since the eight towns in the two regional

school districts in the Berkshires decided to create a Regional

District Planning Board (RSDPB) to explore whether

or not the two districts could improve educational quality or

find cost savings by coming together in some way.

This was prompted by a concern about projected lower

enrollment and increased costs. Initial consultants provided

information about the current state of buildings,

enrollment numbers, operations, educational offerings,

student achievement, transportation, and finances for

both districts. Then the Berkshire County Educational

Task Force led by Jake Eberwein was hired in June 2021

to do the lion’s share of the research and act as the project

managers. This group, which had been advocating for

consolidation of districts in Berkshire County since 2015,

was asked to look a three models: full K-12 regionalization;

formation of a combined high school district Grades

9-12, maintenance of two independent elementary regional

(K-8) districts; increased and formal collaboration between

districts, districts remain independent. On March 22, the

management team summarized the details of possible

scenarios for these three models. They identified their preferred

model as a full merger of the two districts including

building a new high school with a vocational technical

education center on the Monument Mountain campus.

During April, the planning board participated in 3 discussions

about the various models which were facilitated by

the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service. The 23

municipal members were joined by the superintendents,

staff, and teacher representatives from both districts. Many

questions were raised about actual savings, educational approaches,

and impact on the two districts. Next the board

must reach a consensus on whether to accept the recommendation

of the project management team and proceed

to the planning stages. Watch for notice of public information

sessions and focus groups to gather feedback from

the communities. More work is ahead for the board before

any final plan is brought to town meetings for a vote. For

more information about process, findings, and posting of

meetings go the website 8towns.org.

Ultimately you, the voters, will decide. Now is the time to

get involved.

Mr. Barbieri’s Senior Math Class

Mr. VonRuden’s Woodworking Class

5


EARLY COLLEGE

Welcome to the new Mt. Everett Regional High School

(MERHS)! Mt. Everett, in partnership with Bard College at

Simon’s Rock (BCSR), is about to become an 9th-12th grade

early college high school with approximately $500,000 in

four-year grants from the MA Department of Elementary

and Secondary Education (DESE) and the MA Department

of Higher Education. Beginning in Fall 2022, Mt. Everett

students will have the opportunity to earn, free of any

tuition costs, fully-transferable college credits leading to an

associate’s degree. They will also be able to concentrate in

several career areas while earning their degrees, including:

information technology, visual and fine arts, culinary arts,

global studies, STEM, and entrepreneurship.

Mt. Everett and Bard College share a vision of increasing

students’ motivation to persist in college-level work by

helping students experience college success at a younger

age. The Early College model provides guidance and

support for students as their specially trained Mt. Everett

and Bard College instructors expose students to collegelevel

learning as early as ninth grade on the campuses of

both Mt. Everett and Simon’s Rock. As a result, research

has shown that students who may previously have identified

as not intending to go to college will learn that they are

able to do college-level work. Through this Early College

Full School partnership, 100% of 9th and 10th graders will

participate in unit instruction and college campus visits with

all components integrated into required curriculum.

Our Early College program can accommodate 100% of

students in college credit-bearing courses; however, since

student choice is a key element, the program’s goal is to have

at least 80% of students taking tuition-free, credit-bearing

Early College courses after they complete the preparatory

units of study.

All students will benefit from the program design which

incorporates inclusion of early career exploration and

is grounded in employability skills and labor market

information. This approach, means all students will develop

work-force skills whether they plan to continue their

education after graduation or they are seeking immediate

employment in career areas related to local market need.

Research has already shown that graduates of Early College

programs have a higher rate of degree completion in four

or six years, are more successful in financing their education

and are better prepared for careers than those who followed

the traditional high school pathway.

Additionally, this grant will enable us to reach the many

families in our communities that may not have had other

family members attend or complete college. A major focus

will be on family involvement in the college process guided

by our belief that the best way to prepare for college is to go

to college. Maybe college really is for your child!

More on this aspect of the new Mt. Everett in future

newsletters, meetings and communication from our Mt.

Everett principal, Mr. Carpenter and Dr. Regulbuto. A

detailed description of this program, three years in the

making, can be found in the 2022-2023 Mt. Everett Regional

High School Program of Studies at SBRSD.org

Alumni Spotlight - Sarah Beckwith

Mount Everett graduate, Sarah Beckwith is in her senior year at Harvard

University, concentrating in Engineering Sciences on the Environmental Science

and Engineering track. Her senior design thesis is centered around a Python coded

mechanistic model that predicts blue carbon release from coastal salt marshes. Salt

marshes are important ecosystems for global carbon sequestration and they’re being

degraded, which exacerbates ongoing climate change. The model is meant to predict

blue carbon in New England salt marshes and it’s specifically calibrated to the Plum

Island Salt Marsh in northeastern Massachusetts. The model runs probabilistic

simulations for fraction of organic carbon over a 25 cm depth profile, carbon

storage over a 200 year time frame and carbon export over a 200 year time frame.

Beckwith credits SBRSD for not only providing her with a good base knowledge of

science and mathematics but with teachers who were supportive of her interests in

these topics and pursuing them post high school.

Best of luck to Sarah Beckwith as she completes her degree. We can’t wait to hear

of her future achievements!


PATHWAYS

TECHNOLOGY PATHWAY:

• Cybersecurity: Mount Everett’s Cybersecurity class

competed once again this year in the National Youth Cyber

Defense Competition and was in the platinum tier for finishing

the three rounds in the top 12% in the nation and 7th in

Massachusetts. The competition tasks the students with finding

vulnerabilities in Windows and Linux operating systems in

addition to troubleshooting a virtual network.

• Cisco Academy Approval: Mount Everett’s Technology

Pathway has been accepted as a Cisco Networking Academy

partner. This school year four members of the Cybersecurity

class earned Cisco Digital Badges. Next year, Mt. Everett will

move into full partner status with Cisco. Coursework for the

students will prepare them for industry certifications in IT,

Programming, & Cybersecurity.

• Lockheed Martin Grant: Mount Everett’s Sea & Air

Robotics class received a grant from Lockheed Martin and

the Civil Air Patrol, a public service organization that assists

in national emergencies and relief missions. This grant provides

opportunities for students to train on industry leading flight

simulation software, such as propeller aircraft including jets &

helicopters.This grant will support students as they prepare to

participate in American Rocketry Challenge, the world’s largest

student rocket contest.

• VEX Robotics Competition: The VEX Robotics Competition

is about teams working together to build robots in

an engineering format that is game- based. This year, eight

seniors from the VEX Robotics program graduate and due

to their success, Mount Everett is expanding its VEX Robotics

program into the middle school. It is the hope to field

two middle school teams and two high school teams, one of

which may be an all girls team! Students will also be competing

in the VEX Factory Automation Challenge which introduces

students to manufacturing concepts like construction,

palletizing, and coordinate planes to empower the manufacturing

workforce of the future.

ENTREPRENUERSHIP PATHWAY:

• Culinary: This intensive program studies the professional

food service industry, including entrepreneurship projects

such as designing restaurants, creating businesses such as

opening of a cafe′, as well as school and community catering.

Currently, the students are working on Easter Baskets as an

entrepreneurship project. They will look at the target market,

time management, costing, budgeting, packaging, marketing,

and distribution. Additionally, in the clothing independent

study, students are completing prom dresses for the clothing

construction unit where students cover the history of costume,

fiber fabric analysis, and merchandising.

• Carpentry/building: This specialized course offers building

trades students a block of time for intensive study of the

many aspects of the building, woodworking, and landscaping

industries. Here, students can develop skills and attitudes

which will qualify them for employment and future vocation

preparation at the college or technical school level. Currently,

the Building Structures class is constructing a shed at the

school for a Sheffield resident.

WORK BASED INTERNSHIP PROGRAM

• We want to help our students see the connections between

the academic learning that they experience in the classroom

and the application of that learning in the larger world. Many

partnerships with area businesses and employers have been

fostered through the internship program.

• We currently have 16 students participating in our program

in a variety of areas: Electrician, Equine Training, HVAC,

Hair Stylist, Interior Design, Education, and Small Business

Management. Each student will give a presentation on their

experience at the end of their internship. We hope that seeing

these presentations will inspire other students to take on an

internship in the fall!

We are hopeful that many community members will get

involved to share their areas of expertise to form innovative

ideas and provide our students with workplace experiences

and mentoring. More details to follow!

Hudah, a senior at Mt. Everett, participates in the work-based internship

program, specializing in early childhood education.

7


Southern Berkshire Regional School District

491 Berkshire School Road

Sheffield, Massachusetts MA 01257

413-229-8754 | sbrsd.org

We are what we repeatedly do.

Excellence, therefore,

is not an act, but a habit.

- Aristotle

SBRSD School Committee Members: Art Batacchi, Jeffrey Blaugrund, Jane Burke,

Danile Kelly, Laura Rodriguez, Dennis Sears, E. Bonnie Silvers, Kara Smith, Nanci Worthington,

and James DiPisa.

sbrsd.org

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