Berkshire County Education Task Force Planning Study, Phase One Final Report, October 2016
The Berkshire County Education Task Force (BCETF or “the Task Force”) is a group of current and former school administrators and educators, school committee members, town administrators, and local business leaders who have concluded that the county’s public schools face reductions in educational quality due to declining student enrollment and revenues that are not keeping pace with costs. The Task Force seeks to inform regional dialogue and action with: (1) evidence of whether current approaches to educational service delivery are sustainable, and (2) the potential benefits and risks associated with various strategies to maintain financial sustainability and educational quality.
The Task Force contracted with the UMass Donahue Institute (UMDI) to conduct the first phase of a two‐phase study to provide evidence relevant to these issues. Phase One is intended to review and confirm available evidence that decreased enrollment, rising costs, and declining or flat revenues pose challenges to the quality of education in Berkshire County. In addition, it is intended to generate insight into the potential benefits and risks of inter‐district shared service and school district consolidation strategies, as well as ways that the costs of these strategies have been modeled. Phase Two would model costs associated with shared services and consolidation. The ultimate goal of this work is to develop implementable recommendations for Berkshire County municipalities.