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Frontier sets special meeting on budget

SOUTH DEERFIELD — On Thursday, the Frontier Regional School Committee is holding a special meeting to discuss state aid and funding opportunities.

The meeting is a follow up of a September meeting between the School Committee and the boards of selectmen and finance committees of the school’s four feeder towns — Deerfield, Sunderland, Whately and Conway.

In September, the School Committee and town leaders formed a Long Range Planning Subcommittee to address budget conflicts, improve communication and plan for the school’s long-term sustainability.

This week, the subcommittee, chaired by Conway Finance Committee member Andrea Llamas, will report its most recent findings to the full School Committee, selectboards and finance committees.

With a declining school enrollment and increasing school costs and mandates, one of the topics the subcommittee was charged with studying is regionalizing the Frontier Regional and Union 38 school districts to either a K-6 or K-12 system.

There are currently five school districts — four separate elementary schools and one regionalized grades 7 to 12 school but only one administrative office.

The special meetings are designed to improve communication between the school and the towns, Barrett said.

Barrett is hoping for a good turnout, but the Massachusetts Municipal Association is holding its annual conference this week and will draw many of the selectboard members out of town.

State Rep. Stephen Kulik is also scheduled to attend the meeting to discuss the state budget, expected to be released this week, and creative ways the School Committee could look for funding.

Frontier School Superintendent Martha Barrett said she has presented tentative budgets, but she won’t know what the individual town assessments are until the state releases its budget figures.

The meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. in the Frontier Media Center.

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