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Frontier subcommittee to resolve capital question

SOUTH DEERFIELD — A subgroup of the Frontier Regional School Committee is hoping to solve the question that flustered the four feeder towns and School Committee during last year’s budget cycle and derailed $133,250 in school capital requests.

The Capital Exploration Committee is charged with finding a consensus on what constitutes a capital item, as opposed to regular maintenance and long-term maintenance, and recommending a policy to the full school board. The group will also determine whether there should be a separate operating budget and capital budget and what items would fall under each budget.

Committee Chairman Scott Bergeron, who is also the Sunderland selectmen’s chairman, expects tonight’s meeting at 6 p.m. at Frontier will be the last of a series of meetings since September.

The subcommittee is packed with some of the district’s more prominent leaders, including Deerfield Finance Committee members Tom Clark and Albert “Skip” Olmstead, Frontier School Committee member Robert Decker, Conway Selectboard Chairman John O’Rourke, and Deerfield Selectman David Wolfram.

Last year, the School Committee presented its first-ever five-year capital plan to maintain the school building last enlarged and extensively renovated in 1997. Along with that plan came $133,250 in school requests to fund maintenance and security projects.

The capital requests caught the four towns off guard and they demanded cuts.

In the end, the towns chose to fund only security-related projects, arguing that the towns are not obligated under the 1954 Frontier agreement to pay for capital requests.

Based on the original 1954 Frontier agreement, the four towns are obligated to pay for the operating budget. But there is no mention whether they have to fund capital requests.

You can reach Kathleen McKiernan at: kmckiernan@recorder.com or 413-772-0261 ext. 268.

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