Clarksburg officials look to reduce preschool's costs
CLARKSBURG -- School and town officials will meet at Wednesday's Selectmen meeting to discuss ways to lessen the cost of establishing a preschool in town.
A representative from Guntlow & Associates will be present during the 6:30 p.m. meeting at town hall, Northern Berkshire School Union Superintendent Jon Lev said at Thursday's School Committee meeting.
"I'm still feeling very strongly that one way or another, we have a preschool available for people of Clarksburg for the fall," he said.
A feasibility study by the Williams-
town firm found town hall's second floor could accommodate a preschool with construction costs ranging from $220,000 to $240,000, not including design. But officials questioned some items included in the study, including a $15,000 kitchenette and new rest rooms for adults at $12,000.
Lev said possible alternatives include sending students to programs to Abbott Memorial School in Florida or Stamford Elementary School in Stamford, Vt., or even looking at utilizing the Clarksburg Senior Center.
In other business, School Committee members expressed concerns over students being required to wait on the school bus each morning before school.
Buses begin arriving at the school at 8:15 a.m. Students who participate in the school's newly implemented, federally mandated breakfast program are allowed into the school, but otherwise must stay on the bus until 8:30 a.m.
"I have a hard time with this," member Patricia Prenguber said.
Prenguber, who said a community member notified her of the issue, questioned why students can't be inside even though teachers are required to be in the classroom by 8:15 a.m.
Principal Linda Reardon said common practice has been that though teachers are contracted from 8:15 a.m. to 3:15 p.m., they do not start the school day until 8:30 a.m. She noted during the sub-zero temperatures in Jan-
uary, the students were brought indoors. Teachers were then allowed a shorter day, she said.
There was discussion among committee members, Reardon and Lev whether the teaching contract allowed for students to be in their rooms prior to 8:30 a.m.
Prenguber stressed her concern. "There might be a liability in the classroom, but there's a liability on the bus," she said.
Lev suggested meeting with the negotiating team of the Clarksburg Teacher's Associa-
tion to discuss the issue further.
Lev also updated committee members on the school's fiscal year 2015 budget. The state's initial Chapter 70 educational aid appropriations have been released, he said.
"Things are looking extremely tight," he said. "I think we'll have to do some very serious looking at the budget this year."
To reach Edward Damon:
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On Twitter: @BE_EDamon