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Virtual School

Virtual school finalist pool changes slightly

GREENFIELD — The Greenfield School Committee will interview Tuesday seven finalists vying for spots on the town’s new cyber school’s governing board — but the pool has changed slightly with two late additions and two withdrawals.

Attorney and former mayoral candidate Edward Berlin and Town Councilor Mark Maloni are now in the running for the five open slots.

They’ll join five finalists previously selected by the school department’s innovation subcommittee: Former Stoneleigh Burnham School head Paul Bassett of Erving, former School Committee Chairman David Lanoie, former Town Councilor Christopher Joseph, Changegreenfield.com founder Michael Phillips and virtual school parent Christina Powell of Reading.

Parent Erica Nahey and YMCA Executive Director Robert Sunderland dropped out of consideration last week.

By the end of its Tuesday night meeting, the School Committee will choose five people to autonomously run the 3-year-old Massachusetts Virtual Academy if it is given state approval to transition into a Commonwealth of Massachusetts Virtual School on July 1.

Powell is guaranteed one of the five spots since there must be a parent representative, and she’s the only one left among the finalists.

At least three of the five trustees need to be from Greenfield and one must have a financial background, according to the school department’s proposal.

Each trustee will be paid $200 a meeting, not to exceed $2,400 for an entire year, or $1,200 for a half year, according to the proposal.

The school department’s innovation subcommittee — made up of Doris Doyle, School Committee Chairman John Lunt and Mayor William Martin — selected the finalists from 15 interested applicants.

The committee had originally planned to specifically recommend five of the seven finalists. But Lunt said Thursday that with the recent changes to the finalist pool, the subcommittee won’t be specifically supporting any of the seven finalists above the others.

State officials are reviewing Greenfield’s application to become the state’s first and only Commonwealth of Massachusetts Virtual School and will interview school officials and the new trustees in a closed interview the last week of May.

The state has indicated a willingness to support Greenfield’s application but nothing will be set in stone until the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education’s vote on June 25.

The School Committee will meet Tuesday, at 6:30 p.m., in the Greenfield High School library. Due to construction, the only entrance to the school is via Kent Avenue off of Silver Street.

You can reach Chris Shores at:
cshores@recorder.com
or 413-772-0261, ext. 264

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