By Scott Merzbach
Money for studying possible regionalization of the Amherst and Pelham elementary schools and for examining how consolidation and increased cooperation can take place between Turners Falls High, Pioneer Valley and Franklin County Technical schools will come from a portion of $2 million in Community Compact Cabinet state grants.
Amherst-Pelham Regional School Superintendent Michael Morris said he appreciates that the state acted on the application for the regionalization effort that would put the four elementary schools, three in Amherst and one in Pelham, into a single district.
The state is providing $21,500.
The largest amount received in the region, at $150,000, was received by the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission, which will use the money to create a system for enhancing information technology management in rural communities, with Cummington and Huntington, as well as the Gateway Regional School District, among those designated as pilot participants.
Molly Goren-Watts, principal planner at PVPC, said the grant will allow the agency to set up a new area of support for municipal IT management and to assess current situations, such as the needs for hardware or configuring network systems.
Goren-Watts said the plan is to use the grant to develop a system in which basic level IT management can be offered for communities that don’t have an IT manager or staff likely through a third party,
The belief is that good economies of scale will make this affordable for the many small towns throughout the region.
Also getting $150,000 is the Pioneer Valley Mosquito Control District, which includes 11 communities, mostly in Franklin and Hampshire counties, including Bernardston, Conway, Deerfield, Hadley, Montague, Northampton, Shelburne, Southampton and South Hadley.