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Consolidation talks on hold

Committee to review Articles of Agreement

ANTRIM — ConVal School Board members agreed Tuesday that the District Study Committee, a group made up of both School Board representatives and Select Board members, should continue its work. But they voted not to have the group review the question of possible school consolidation and Board Chair Butch Estey wondered whether Select Board members of the District Study Committee were interested enough to continue.

At the board’s meeting at Great Brook School, Antrim board member Rich Cahoon, who has been chairing the District Study Committee, said the group had decided that since none of the school consolidation proposals that came forward in recent years were accepted, the issue should be put on hold for at least three years, with consolidation options to be considered during the review of the Articles of Agreement in 2017.

Some board members noted that the Articles of Agreement are scheduled to be reviewed this year. After discussion, the board supported a motion calling for the school consolidation question to be reviewed in 2017, simultaneously with a full review of the Articles of Agreement that year.

For this year, the board voted to have the District Study Committee review the Articles of Agreement that don’t relate to school consolidation, rather than having a new subcommittee do the job. Cahoon said District Study Committee members recommended that new focus for their activities and were willing to take on the task. The District Study Committee will also spend time trying to identify areas where cost efficiencies can be obtained.

Estey asked Cahoon if Select Board members of the District Study Committee, which was a new ad hoc group formed last year, had regularly attended meetings. “If you come to committee meetings and the other side isn’t showing up, what’s the point?” he asked.

Hancock Select Board member John Jordan, who is on the District Study Committee, said he expected there would be better participation this year.

“Why don’t we have a couple of meetings and see if people attend?” said Greenfield Select Board member Myron Steere, who represented the School Board on the committee.

Board members amended the motion, calling for committee members to report back in three months, when a determination whether to continue the committee would be made.

“I don’t want to see you spend a lot of time spinning your wheels if you’re not getting cooperation,” Estey said.

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