Mount Greylock Regional School District expansion not off the table yet
WILLIAMSTOWN -- The expansion of the Mount Greylock Regional School District to include Williamstown and Lanesborough elementary schools isn’t off the table yet.
"The answer to the communities is no, we haven’t tabled it, we’re still looking it," Chairwoman Carrie Greene said Tuesday. "There’s always a possibility we could bring this to the towns to a vote as early as next fall."
Three different subcommittees have looked at different aspects on expanding the region since the fall, Greene said.
Member David Backus said the finance subcommittee has already calculated annual savings up to $900,000 if the district were to expand.
The district was awarded a $50,000 grant the state’s Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) last January to explore expanding from a grade seven through 12 district to a pre-K through grade 12 district.
Officials have cited benefits including increased efficiencies as a reason for the expansion. Each school currently has its own school committee and budget, but share a superintendent, business director, and director of pupil services.
Members also quelled rumors that expanding the district would lead to a pre-k through grade 12 "superschool" that would replace the two town’s elementary schools and regional middle and high school.
Backus said the rumor may stem from the work of the school building committee running parallel with the regionalization study. But that committee is only charged with exploring a renovation or rebuild of the regional high school, he said.
Attempts to replace the aging facility reached another milestone Tuesday when members unanimously voted for the district to assume $850,000 loan for a feasibility study through the state’s School Building Authority (MSBA). The study would include a 55 percent reimbursement from the state and give several options, ranging from a renovation to complete rebuild.
Greene said the committee’s vote will trigger a vote by both Lanesborough and Williamstown this spring, either by a warrant article or ballot measure.
The district would be reimbursed $467,500 as the study is performed, and officials expect it will contribute $150,000. The remaining $232,5000 would be split with $139,500 from Williamstown and $93,000 from Lanesborough.
To reach Edward Damon:
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On Twitter: @BE_EDamon
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