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Mount Greylock School District Seeks Williamstown Resident to Fill Vacant Committee Seat

By Stephen DravisiBerkshires Staff
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WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The Mount Greylock Regional School District has a vacancy on its School Committee and less than a month to fill the position.
 
School Committee Vice Chairman Dan Caplinger informed the Williamstown Select Board on Monday that Joe Bergeron, one of four Williamstown residents on and chairman of the seven-person committee, has resigned.
 
The committee is seeking applicants for another Williamstown resident to fill out the remainder of Bergeron's term, which expires with the November 2020 biennial election.
 
The regional agreement that binds Williamstown and Lanesborough, last approved by the voters two years ago, spells out the procedure for filling a vacancy. The select boards of both member towns need to meet in a joint meeting with the remaining six School Committee members to vote on a replacement within 30 days of the vacancy.
 
Bergeron informed the district of his need to step down in a letter dated June 5, Caplinger said.
 
"This is so he can accompany his wife and family on a move to the West Coast," Select Board Chair Jeffrey Thomas said. "Joe's wife has taken a position as the capital campaign director for the Castilleja School in Palo Alto, Calif.
 
"They're going to be moving as soon as the kids finish school this year."
 
Bergeron's wife, Geraldine Shen, is the former executive director of Williamstown's Sand Springs Recreation Center. Regina DiLego had stepped in as chairman last month for what was to be a temporary absence by Bergeron.
 
Caplinger noted that the district is welcoming all potential candidates for the job, and interested applicants can contact DiLego at rdilego@mgrhs.org, any other committee member, the district office or the office at either Williamstown Elementary School or Mount Greylock.
 
The joint meeting, tentatively set for June 24, will be moderated by Williamstown Town Moderator Adam Filson; the regional agreement calls for the moderator from the town with the committee vacancy to run the meeting.
 
As Caplinger explained the process, the successful candidate will need to receive a simple majority of the joint meeting, which could include up to 14 voting members: the five-member Williamstown Select Board, the three-person Lanesborough Select Board and the six remaining School Committee members.
 
The Mount Greylock School Committee has four members who are residents of Williamstown and three who are residents of Lanesborough, a distribution derived from the relative populations of the district's two  member towns.
 
In the event of a tie at the joint meeting, the moderator would cast the deciding vote, the agreement reads.
 
Bergeron first became involved in school committee work as a member of the former Williamstown Elementary School Committee. In that capacity, he helped drive the regionalization process that ended with the dissolution of the three "legacy" school committees, including the WES committee, when PreK-12 regionalization of the district's three schools was approved by voters in 2017.
 
He subsequently chaired on the Transition Committee that directed the district until the November biennial election, where he was elected to a seat on the first School Committee of the fully regionalized district.
 
"It's been challenging time," said Thomas, serving his first meeting as chairman of the Select Board. "Great progress has been made, and Joe deserves a lot of the credit. I want to take this opportunity to thank Joe, though he's not here, for his service and say how much the community is going to miss him."

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Williamstown Playground Project Nearing Completion

By Stephen DravisiBerkshires Staff
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — After more than a year of planning, fund-raising and advocacy, efforts to rebuild a town playground are in the homestretch.
 
Last week, the poured rubber surfacing was scheduled to be laid at the new playground at Linear Park, off Water Street, and one of the volunteers helping lead the project said the hope is that the site will be ready for youngsters before the end of the fall.
 
"It's starting to look like a playground," Amy Jeschawitz said as she surveyed the partially installed equipment that will be finished off once the rubber padding and wood fiber infill are installed.
 
The brightly-colored, modern play pieces are a far cry from the dated equipment at the park just a couple of years ago, when a safety inspection found deficiencies at the town facility.
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