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Mount Greylock's Operating Budget Flat, Building Project Drives Hike
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
01:29AM / Monday, March 20, 2017
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WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — Mount Greylock Regional School officials Wednesday trumpeted a fiscal 2018 budget proposal that shows no increase in member towns' appropriations related to the school's operating costs.   Williamstown and Lanesborough will be delivered higher assessments, but the increase is due entirely to the bond payment on the addition/renovation project approved in debt exclusion votes in both towns in early 2016.   On Wednesday night, the Mount Greylock School Committee held its public hearing on the FY18 budget.   The bad news is that the district is assessing Lanesborough at $3.2 million and Williamstown at $6.4 million.   The former

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Miss Hall's School Announced First Semester Head's List, Honor Roll
01:46PM / Monday, March 13, 2017
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Miss Hall's School has announced 40 local students among the 127 girls schoolwide named to the Head's List and Honor Roll for the first semester, which ended Jan. 25.

For Head's List recognition, students must have taken five major, full-credit courses and must maintain a minimum grade-point average of 92, with no single grade below B-plus.

For Honor Roll recognition, students must have taken five major, full-credit courses and must maintain a minimum grade-point average of 86, with no single grade below B-minus.

Head's List

Gabriela Keator, of Lenox; Sarah (Sally) Nason, Lee; Mackenzie (Mac) O’Brien, Windsor; and Jacquline Rich, North

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Pittsfield Seeking Consistency In Financing Taconic Project
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
03:59AM / Monday, March 13, 2017
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The needed cash flow to pay to build the new Taconic High School hits a peak in the coming months.   The Finance Department is closely monitoring the funding of the project, working to find ways to keep the city's total debt service payments level throughout the life of the bonds. Right now, the city has only gone to the market for long-term financing of $10 million of the anticipated $46 million the city will need to fund and is managing the cash flow as construction goes on.   "We estimate it will be no more than $46 million. Ultimately what we are responsible for will be the ineligible costs, meaning the ones the state will not pay. That

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Pittsfield Schools Ending Student Resource Center Program
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
03:36PM / Friday, March 10, 2017
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The school district is ending the partnership with the sheriff's office to provide alternative education.   Since 2006, the district has been contracting with the Berkshire County sheriff's office to run the Student Resource Center, formerly known as the Juvenile Resource Center. The program was for out-of-school suspensions and the district is now restructuring the way it handles discipline, reducing the number of those suspensions altogether.    "We think we need to use this as an opportunity to ramp up our in school suspension program," Superintendent Jason McCandless said at Wednesday's School Committee meeting. "We

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Preliminary Pittsfield School Budget Calls For 57 Job Reductions
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
03:58AM / Thursday, March 09, 2017
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The school district is considering reducing staff by 57 employees.   Superintendent Jason McCandless presented a preliminary budget to the School Committee on Wednesday night that calls for the sharp reduction in staff. Overall, the budget would still be up by about a half million dollars but the staff reductions counter increased cost for contractual obligations.    "This keeps the central focus on student instruction. This keeps the central focus on student learning and that is really, at the end of the day, what we are here for," McCandless said.   The proposal increases the school budget by less than 1 percent that is mostly driven

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Taconic Construction: Exterior Precast To Start in April
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
01:37PM / Tuesday, March 07, 2017
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Fireproofing work is ongoing on the second floor. PITTSFIELD, Mass. — There are over 100 people on site at the building of the new Taconic High School and that is expected to ramp up even more over the coming months.   Construction on the $120.8 million building has been ongoing for a full year. The winter weather caused only minor delays and work will ramp up again when the temperature rises.   The number of workers is expected to double to 200 this year. The entire school is set to be completed by June 2018, and the current building will then be razed.   At this point, the side of the building closest to Valentine Road is still covered with wrapping but that is

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General Dynamics Brings Engineering To Reid Classrooms
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
06:48AM / Saturday, March 04, 2017
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Nine engineers from General Dynamics spent the day teaching the middle school students about engineering.  PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Engineer Jake Kalish is the type of person who learns better when he sees things in action.    On Friday when he stood in front of an 8th grade class at Reid Middle School, he sped through the lesson he was teaching about chemical reactions between salt water and magnesium and got right to the action.   He and eight other engineers from General Dynamics spent the day leading classes through building small cars that run on salt water and magnesium.   "It's always really nice to see what I learned about in practice,"

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McCann School Budget Reflects Hikes in Fixed Costs, Health Insurance
By Tammy Daniels, iBerkshires Staff
03:59AM / Monday, February 27, 2017
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NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The McCann Technical School budget for fiscal 2018 is up 2.7 percent over this year, largely reflecting increasing fixed costs and level state funding.    The school's budget is up about $250,000, from $9.09 million to $9,340,159, and includes $88,000 in cuts. Some $3.7 million of the spending plan will be covered by assessments to its nine districts for operations, transportation and capital projects. The total assessments are up less than one percent.    "The problem we run into when you look at the budget itself, the state Chapter 70 money is pretty much level, the numbers that are municipal assessments ... are fairly level for all

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MCLA Professor Begins 'The 50 Card Project'
12:12PM / Friday, February 24, 2017
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NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Every week since Inauguration Day and continuing through the end of 2017, Melanie Mowinski, an associate professor of visual arts at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts will print a new letterpress card in a limited edition of 100, using vintage letterpress type, cuts and other printing matrixes.

After making a card of FDR's Four Freedoms on Inauguration day, Mowinski decided to make a card every week for the entire 2017 year. She calls this mission "The 50 Card Project." In total, she will create 50 different cards or 5,000 individual cards. As they are completed each week, she will send 15 to 20 to key players in Washington, D.C.

"The

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Miss Hall's School Presents 'The Addams Family'
11:10AM / Wednesday, February 22, 2017
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — You thought your family was weird? The Miss Hall's School Theater Ensemble presents its take on oddball households, performing the musical comedy "The Addams Family" in shows at 8 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 24, and Saturday, Feb. 25, and in a 2 p.m. matinee on Sunday, Feb. 26.

Gomez and Morticia Addams have tried to raise their children right — by Addams family standards. Then Wednesday Addams invites her new boyfriend, Lucas Beineke, and his parents to dinner. Intent on enjoying a simple family dinner, Wednesday and Lucas instruct their families to "act normal," which proves easier said than done. As the dinner unravels, a terrible storm

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