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Cheshire Had Looked at Joining Northern Berkshire School Union

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
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CHESHIRE, Mass. — Town officials reached out to the Northern Berkshire School Union 43 about possibly joining its superintendency union this past May or June. 
 
However, the town was told it would have to leave the Adams-Cheshire Regional School District before going any further.
 
Selectman Edmund St. John IV told his colleagues on Tuesday that he had contacted Jonathan Lev, superintendent of the four-school union, about possibly joining. He had done that as a followup to an inquiry by the Advisory Board, which was looking for ways at the time to keep the school operating. 
 
"The school union would not do anything unless Cheshire basically was removed from the district agreement," St. John said. "They can't go out and poach members when there is a viable agreement." 
 
With the regional school district agreement amendment process under way, the town of Cheshire has been looking at other arrangements.
 
The Northern Berkshire School Union is made up of the elementary schools in Clarksburg, Savoy, Florida and Rowe; the four schools share administrative services, a superintendent and special education services. They each have their own school boards and budgets. 
 
Town officials found that reopening the now-closed Cheshire Elementary School would likely cost more than $6 million but they are still open to other options.
 
"I just think it is important for people to understand that we have contacted other districts and are looking at all of our options," Selectwoman Carol Francesconi said.
 
St. John added that changing the agreement, let alone leaving the district, is no easy feat and that the town would need Adams' approval to make changes or depart.
 
"It is complicated and cannot be figured out in a single meeting," he said. "No town can unilaterally make a decision. Cheshire can't leave on its own and Adams can't boot us out." 
 
On Friday, St. John clarified that he had brought up the spring conversation to show that the town had been seeking options in the wake of the school's closure and that any further movement in that direction would have to be taken up by the amendment committee. 
 
In other business, the town received a handwritten letter from one of its younger residents who wanted to air her grievances about Spectrum's channel dropping — especially Nickelodeon. 
 
"If you shut down Nick, I will be so mad at you. We are losing all of our childhood characters," Ella wrote. "Bring back Time Warner or no money for you. Do not expect to get another note."
 
St. John agreed with Ella's sentiment and noted a lot of residents are upset about coming channel changes.
 
"I agree with her concern I have a 3-year-old who loves Nick Jr.," he said. "Unfortunately, we can't bring back Time Warner."  
 
Highway Superintendent Blair Crane said Main Street and Windsor and Wells Roads will be painted Sunday night.
 
"I will be out most of the night it sounds," he said. "They estimated it would take seven to eight hours depending on how it goes."  
 
Editor's note: This article and headline have been clarified to indicate the inquiries to the school union took place some months ago. That was not clear during the discussion at Tuesday's meeting.

Tags: cheshire school,   SU43,   

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