WILLIAMSTOWN -- Members of the Mount Greylock Regional School Committee held a retreat-style meeting Tuesday to reorganize following November elections and to provide an overview of the year ahead. The meeting was the first Chair Carolyn Greene presided over, after being elected chair Nov. 20.
Greene brought the committee up to speed on the school building project for Mount Greylock Regional High School being sought through the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA). The committee has the option of putting a request for a feasibility study on the warrant for the spring’s town meeting. Greene said much has changed since the first feasibility study in 2005, including school population and building costs.
Greene said the cost -- which could be up to $1 million -- would be split between Williamstown and Lanes borough, and there is potentially outside money to fund it as well.
"This is the starting point of whatever this project ends up being, whether it’s a renovation or a rebuild," Greene said. "We don’t get anywhere until we actually get in with the MSBA, and the first step there is a feasibility study."
The pursuit of the project stalled when the proposal failed to make the MSBA’s Nov. 14 meeting agenda. Now, the district must begin the whole process again. Super intendent Rose Ellis toured the school with MSBA Ex ecutive Director Jack Mc Carthy on Nov. 28, who also provided advice on their next proposal.
The feasibility study would give options on what kind of project would be undertaken -- either rebuilding or renovating the existing building.
"It’s a very involved process," Ellis said.
Greene said it will be important to perform community outreach over the coming months, and to inform residents about the status of the project.
In other topics, one of the greatest "sea changes" of the year, Ellis said, was new legislation requiring an evaluation system for teachers.
"I think it’s a wonderful model," Ellis said. "It’s about growth, and helping people improve." One criticism she said she does have is that it’s a lot to take on at once.
Ellis also gave an overview on regionalization, an issue she said has been discussed for 40 years and could ultimately secure funding for the building project.
The district has applied for a $75,000 grant to look at consolidating its three schools’ budgets into one and likewise make operations more central. During his visit, McCarthy said regionalization could create a better collaborative atmosphere, saying that should be a district’s top priority in order to be considered for funding.
"It’s not that I’m saying we should regionalize," Ellis said. "I feel that it’s difficult for small districts to maintain their viability. This is a natural way for people to bring their resources together." She added the state has seen several districts regionalize just in the past year.
"My only involvement in this is I’d like to bring this to the voters and give them the opportunity after 40 years to say yea or nay."
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