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Mass. Town OKs Funding To Study Possible Interstate School District With Stamford, Vt.

The exterior of the Stamford school with blue sky and mountains in the background.
Micah Hayre, Courtesy
Last year, Stamford, Vt., rejected an Act 46 plan to merge with its Vermont neighbors, and the school district is now looking to merge with the town of Clarksburg, Mass., school district.

A plan to create the first interstate school district between Vermont and Massachusetts got a step closer after the town of Clarksburg, Massachusetts, voted to spend $25,000 on a feasibility study.

Last year, the town of Stamford, Vermont — which runs a pre-K through eighth schoolwith 95 students — rejected a proposed Act 46 merger plan with the Vermont towns in the nearby supervisory union because the other schools are more than 12 miles away over winding mountain roads.

But the schools in Stamford and Clarksburg are only four miles, apart so representatives from the two schools have been meeting to talk about the possibility of merging.

On April 5, Clarksburg held a special town meeting to consider a proposal to use a state grant to pay for a feasibility study, and the vote was overwhelmingly approved.

“We were so pleased and so happy,” said Stamford School Board Chairwoman Cynthia Lamore. "And we’re really hopeful that both states will have agreement as to the interstate merger.”

Vermont lawmakers are trying to secure another $25,000 in the budget that’s being debated in Montpelier to match the Massachusetts grant.

"We're four miles from the Clarksburg school door, so it's much easier to get to and accessible, and there's a lot more opportunities south for us and for our kids." — Cynthia Lamore, Stamford School Board chairwoman

Lamore said there are deep connections between Stamford and Clarksburg, with many of the Vermont residents traveling south to work in nearby Williamstown and North Adams, Massachusetts.

“We’re four miles from the Clarksburg school door,” Lamore said, “so it’s much easier to get to and accessible, and there's a lot more opportunities south for us and for our kids.”

Lamore said the feasibility study will answer some of the questions about the interstate school district.

If both communities vote to move ahead, the new district will also have to be approved by the legislatures in each state and by the U.S. Congress.

Howard Weiss-Tisman is Vermont Public’s southern Vermont reporter, but sometimes the story takes him to other parts of the state.
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