Franklin County school and town officials explore creative ways to share services

Franklin County

More than a dozen Franklin County school and town officials explored region-wide solutions at the first-ever Shared Services Summit.

“Is there a way for us to partner our communities with our school districts?” questioned Franklin Regional Council of Governments Executive Director, Linda Dunlavy.

Western Massachusetts rural communities are searching for ways to reduce costs and expand services. So the Franklin Regional Council of Governments and the Rural Schools Coalition held their first-ever Shared Services Summit in Greenfield, Wednesday afternoon.

“So this is really a wonderful kick-off event to start those conversations between school districts, and school districts and towns, to start to figure out where can we share positions so that we can operate more efficiently and our kids can get access to more educational programming,” said Superintendent of the Mohawk Trail/Hawlemont Regional School District, Michael Buoniconti.

Buoniconti told 22News, Wednesday’s summit is especially important as rural school districts deal with declining enrollment and financial challenges.

School officials want to develop strategies to save money for both the school districts and towns.

“We already do bids between the schools and municipalities on elevator maintenance,” added Dunlavy. “We’ve looked into shared DPW or grounds keeping. We’ve looked into shared plumbers and electricians and other trades.”

The Shared Services Summit also looked at ways to improve the efficiency of payroll, information technology, transportation, and maintenance.

Buoniconti told 22News, he will draft a proposal with Wednesday feedback to submit the final draft to the state’s Joint Committee of Education.

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