Town of Groton, MA
Middlesex County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Groton-Dunstable Regional School Committee 5-5-2010.[1] Amendments noted where applicable.]
[1]
Editor's Note: This agreement also superseded former Ch. 69, Regional School District, adopted 10-10-1967 STM by Art. 5.

§ 69-1 Legislative authority.

This agreement is entered into pursuant to Chapter 71 of the General Laws of Massachusetts, as amended, between the Towns of Groton and Dunstable, hereinafter sometimes referred to as "member towns." In consideration of the mutual promises herein contained, it is hereby agreed as follows.

§ 69-2 Regional District School Committee.

A. 
Composition.
(1) 
The powers and duties of the Regional School District shall be vested in and exercised by a Regional District School Committee, hereinafter sometimes referred to as the "Committee." All members shall serve until their respective successors are qualified.
(2) 
Immediately upon the establishment of the District, the five members of the local School Committee of the Town of Groton and any of their successors thereafter shall serve on the Regional District School Committee until they are replaced in the manner hereinafter described. At the Annual Town Election next following the assumption of jurisdiction by the Committee of the pupils in all the grades of the District and at the Annual Town Elections in the next two succeeding years, the Town of Groton shall elect for a term of three years the number of members to serve on the Regional District School Committee whose terms would normally expire on the local School Committee on each respective Annual Town Election mentioned above. Thereafter, the Town of Groton shall, at every Annual Town Election, elect for a term of three years the number of members, if any, necessary to maintain its membership on the Committee in accordance with its enrollment of pupils on the previous October first as provided in Subsection A(4) of this section.
(3) 
Immediately upon the establishment of the District, the three members of the local School Committee of the Town of Dunstable and any of their successors thereafter shall serve on the Regional District School Committee until the Annual Town Election next following the assumption of jurisdiction by the Committee of the pupils in all the grades of the District. At the said election, the Town of Dunstable shall elect two members to serve on the Committee, one for a term of two years and one for a term of three years. Thereafter, the Town of Dunstable shall, at every Annual Town Election, elect for a term of three years the number of members, if any, necessary to maintain its membership on the Committee in accordance with its enrollment of pupils on the previous October first as provided in Subsection A(4) of this section.
(4) 
The Committee shall annually ascertain the number of pupils residing in each member town who are enrolled in the regional District schools on October 1, including the schools referred to in § 69-4B and C. If the enrollment from a member town is 35% or less of the total enrollment from all the member towns, such town shall be entitled to two members; if the enrollment from a member town exceeds 45% of the total enrollment from all the member towns, such town shall be entitled to five members. Notwithstanding any provisions to the contrary contained in this subsection, if a member town's entitlement is reduced in any year, the term of office of any incumbent member shall not be affected thereby.
B. 
Vacancies. If a vacancy occurs among the members elected to the Committee, the selectmen and the remaining member or members of the Committee from the town involved, acting jointly, shall appoint a member to serve until the next Annual Town Election, at which election a successor shall be elected to serve from the balance of the unexpired term, if any.
C. 
Organization. Promptly upon the establishment of the Regional School District and on April 1 of each year thereafter, the Committee shall organize and elect a chairman and a vice chairman from among its membership.
D. 
Powers and duties. The Committee shall have all the powers and duties conferred and imposed upon school committees by law and conferred and imposed upon it by this agreement, and such other additional powers and duties as are specified in MGL C. 71, §§ 16 to 161, inclusive, and any amendments thereof or additions thereto now or hereafter enacted or as may be specified in any other applicable general or special law.
E. 
Quorum. The quorum for the transaction of business shall be a majority of the Committee, but a number less than the majority may adjourn.

§ 69-3 Type of Regional School District.

The Regional School District shall include all grades from Kindergarten through grade 12 and such programs as are required by state law.
The Regional School District shall include all grades from Kindergarten through grade 12. The Committee is hereby authorized, in its discretion, to establish and maintain state-aided vocational education, acting as trustees therefor, in accordance with the provisions of Chapter 74 of the General Laws, and acts amendatory thereof, in addition thereto or dependent thereon.

§ 69-4 Regional District school buildings.

A. 
Location of new schools. The Regional School District may construct new schools as needed, K through 12, wherever the Regional School District decides the needs and feasibility exist.
B. 
Lease of school buildings.
(1) 
The Town of Groton is hereby authorized to lease to the Regional School District all the premises and buildings presently known as the following:
(a) 
The Tarbell School.
(b) 
The Groton Elementary School.
(c) 
The Groton Junior High School.
(2) 
The Town of Dunstable is hereby authorized to lease to the Regional School District all the premises and buildings located on Main Street in said Town and presently known as the following:
(a) 
The Union School.
(b) 
The New Elementary School.
(3) 
Each of the leases authorized above shall be for a term of 20 years and shall commence on the date when the Committee assumes jurisdiction over the pupils in all grades of the District. Each of the leases shall contain a provision for the extension of the term thereof for an additional term not in excess of 20 years, at the option of the Committee. Each of the leases shall contain provisions authorizing the Regional School District to insure, repair, improve, alter or remodel any of the leased buildings. Neither the Town of Groton nor the Town of Dunstable shall receive any rental under any such lease. Any such lease involving the above-named schools in the Town of Dunstable shall be on such other terms as may be determined by the Selectmen of the Town of Dunstable and the Committee, who shall execute the lease for the Town of Dunstable and the Regional School District, respectively.
C. 
Sale of present Groton High School. The Town of Groton is hereby authorized to sell to the Regional School District the building presently known as the "Groton High School" and the land appurtenant thereto and used in connection therewith. The Selectmen of the Town of Groton shall make the conveyance therefor before the Committee assumes jurisdiction over the pupils in all the grades of the District. The Town of Dunstable shall pay $6,250 each year for a period of 13 consecutive years commencing in 1968 for the sale of said high school and an additional amount each year for the said 13 years to be determined annually in the manner hereinafter described. In each of said years, the Committee shall ascertain the amount of principal and interest which the Town of Groton will be obligated to pay for that year on its bonds dated August 1, 1961, which were issued in connection with the construction of the Groton High School; from this amount, there shall be subtracted the amount of the state school construction grant scheduled to be paid in that year to the said Town for the construction of the high school; and the net amount shall be multiplied by a fraction of which the numerator shall be the number of pupils from the Town of Dunstable who were attending said high school on October 1 of the year previous to the year for which the determination is made, and the denominator shall be the number of pupils from all the member towns who were attending said high school on October 1 of the same year. The said amount, as so determined, when added to the amount of $6,250, shall constitute the total amount of the annual payment of the Town of Dunstable for that year. The first of such payments shall be made on May 1, 1968, and thereafter payments shall be made on May 1 of each succeeding year until the 13 payments have been made. For a period of 13 years, commencing with the year 1967, the Committee shall, prior to December 31, assess the Town of Dunstable the amount due as provided above and at its next Annual Town Meeting the said Town shall appropriate the amount so assessed; and the Treasurer of the said Town shall pay the amount so appropriated to the Regional School District Treasurer, and the Regional School District Treasurer shall forthwith pay the said amount to the Treasurer of the Town of Groton.

§ 69-5 Appointment and payment of costs incurred by District.

A. 
Classification of costs. For the purpose of appointing assessments levied by the District against the member towns, costs shall be divided into two categories: capital costs and operating costs.
B. 
Capital costs. Capital costs shall include all expenses in the nature of capital outlay such as the cost of acquiring land, the cost of constructing, reconstructing, or adding to a school building or buildings, the cost of remodeling or making extraordinary repairs to a school building or buildings, the cost of constructing sewerage systems and sewerage treatment and disposal facilities or the cost of the purchase or use of such systems with a municipality, and any other item of capital outlay for which a regional school district may be authorized to borrow, including, without limitation, the cost of original equipment and furnishings for such school buildings or additions, plans, architects' and consultants' fees, grading and other costs incidental to placing school buildings and additions, sewerage systems and sewerage treatment and disposal facilities, and any premises related to the foregoing in operating condition. Capital costs shall also include payment of principal of and interest on bonds, other obligations issued by the District to finance capital costs.
C. 
Operating costs. Operating costs shall include all costs not included in capital costs as defined in Subsection B, but including interest on temporary notes issued by the District in anticipation of revenue.
D. 
Apportionment of capital costs. Debt service on bonds or notes issued by the District to finance capital costs of a District building shall be apportioned on the basis of pupil enrollment in such building. Each member town's share shall be determined by computing the ratio which its pupil enrollment in such building on the October 1 next preceding the first day of the fiscal year for which the apportionment is made bears to the pupil enrollment from all the member towns in such building on that date. Each member town's share of the debt service for a building not occupied by students shall be determined by computing the ratio of that town's pupil enrollment to the total pupil enrollment in all grades from K through 12 of pupils residing in each member town and receiving education at the region's expense.
E. 
Apportionment of operating costs.
Operating costs for every fiscal year shall be apportioned to the member towns on the basis of their respective pupil enrollments in the Regional School District schools, including the schools referred to in § 69-4B.
Each member town's share for each fiscal year shall be determined by computing the ratio of that town's pupil enrollment to the total pupil enrollment in all grades from K through 12 of pupils residing in each member town and receiving education at the region's expense.
F. 
Times of payment of apportioned costs. Each member town shall pay to the District in each year its proportionate share, certified as provided in § 69-6C, of the capital and operating costs. Except as otherwise provided in § 69-6A, the annual share of each member town shall be paid in such amounts and at such times that at least the following percentages of such annual share shall be paid on or before the dates indicated, respectively:
August 15
25%
November 15
50%
February 15
75%
May
100%

§ 69-6 Budget.

A. 
Initial budget. Within 60 days after the initial Committee is organized, it shall prepare a reasonably detailed operating and maintenance budget covering expenses, if any, for the balance of the calendar year. Copies of such proposed budget shall be submitted to the Chairman of the Finance or Advisory Committee and to the Chairman of the Board of Selectmen of each member town for their consideration. A budget shall be adopted within 30 days after the proposed budget has been so submitted. The amount of the said budget shall be apportioned between the member towns according to the provisions of § 69-5 hereof. The District Treasurer shall certify to the treasurer of each member town its respective share of said budget. The sums thus certified shall be payable forthwith by each member town to the Committee but only from funds which may be or may have been appropriated by each member town for such purpose.
B. 
Tentative maintenance and operating budget.
(1) 
Thereafter, at the opening of each academic year in September, the Committee shall as promptly as practicable proceed with the preparation of a tentative operating and maintenance budget for the ensuing fiscal year, including therein provision for any installment of principal or interest to become due in such fiscal year on any bonds, notes or other obligations of the District and any other capital costs to be apportioned to the member towns in such fiscal year. The Committee shall consult with the Board of Selectmen of each member town each year prior to establishing the guidelines to be used in preparing the tentative budget for the following fiscal year. The said tentative budget shall be in reasonable detail, including the amounts payable under the following classifications and such other classifications as may be deemed necessary or appropriate by the Committee or as may be requested, in writing, and submitted to the Committee by the Board of Selectmen of any member town:
(a) 
Administration.
(b) 
Instruction.
(c) 
Other school services.
(d) 
Operating and maintenance of plant.
(e) 
Fixed charges.
(f) 
Acquisition of fixed assets.
(g) 
Community services.
(h) 
Debt retirement and debt service.
(i) 
Programs with other Districts and private schools.
(2) 
In addition all non-recurring expenditures of the tentative budget shall be itemized.
(3) 
Upon the preparation of such tentative budget for any fiscal period and not later than 30 days prior to the date on which the final maintenance and operating budget is adopted, the Committee shall mail copies of such tentative budget to the Chairperson of the Board of Selectmen of each member town, present and explain the tentative budget to the Finance Committee in each member town, and provide three copies of the tentative budget to the Town Clerk of each member town for public perusal copying. The first page of said tentative budget shall contain a notice stating the time and place in which a public hearing will be held thereon. The Committee shall publish a notice of the time and place of such hearing at least once in a newspaper in general circulation in the District. After a time period of at least 10 days following the publication of such tentative budget at least five days prior to the adoption of the final maintenance and operating budget, the Committee shall hold a public hearing within the District to discuss the tentative budget and to answer any and all inquiries with respect thereto.
C. 
Final maintenance and operating budget. Following the public hearing on the tentative budget, the Committee may make any such modifications to its tentative budget as it may deem necessary or desirable and adopt an annual maintenance and operating budget for the ensuing fiscal year not later than 45 days prior to the earliest date on which the business session of the Annual Town Meeting in any member town meeting is to be held, but in no event later than March 31, provided that said budget need not be adopted earlier than February 1. Said annual maintenance and operating budget shall include debt and interest and any other capital costs as separate items, and the said Committee shall apportion the amounts necessary to be raised in order to meet the said budget in accordance with the provisions of § 69-5D and E. The amounts so apportioned to each member town shall be certified by the District Treasurer to the Treasurers of the member towns within 30 days from the date on which the annual maintenance and operating budget is adopted by the Committee, and each town shall, at the next Annual Town Meeting, appropriate the amounts so certified to it.
D. 
Annual report. The Committee shall submit to each member town by September 15 of each year an annual report containing a detailed financial statement for the prior fiscal year, and a statement showing the method by which each member town's proportionate share of the capital and operating costs of the District was computed, together with such additional information relative to the operation of the Regional District Schools as deemed necessary and appropriate by the Committee or as may be requested, in writing, and submitted to the Committee by the Board of Selectmen from any member town.

§ 69-7 Transportation.

School transportation shall be provided by the Regional School District and the cost thereof shall be apportioned to the member towns as an operating cost, except that the cost of transportation for the first full calendar year in which all the schools of the District are in operation and for any calendar year thereto shall be apportioned to the member towns in such manner as may be determined by the Committee.

§ 69-8 Amendments.

A. 
Limitation. This agreement may be amended from time to time in the manner hereinafter provided, but no amendment shall be made which shall substantially impair the rights of the holders of any bonds or notes or other evidences of indebtedness of the District then outstanding, or the rights of the District to procure the means for payment thereof, provided that nothing in this section shall prevent the admission of a new town or towns to the Districts and the reapportionment accordingly of capital costs of the District represented by bonds or notes of the District then outstanding and of interest thereon.
B. 
Procedure. Any proposal for amendment, except a proposal for amendment providing for the withdrawal of a member town (which shall be acted upon as provided in § 69-10), may be initiated by a two-thirds vote of all members of the Committee or by a petition signed by 10% of the registered voters of any one of the members towns. In the latter case, said petition shall contain at the end thereof a certification by the Town Clerk of such member town as to the number of registered voters in said town according to the most recent voting list and the number of signatures on the petition which appear to be the names of registered voters of said town and said petition shall be presented to the secretary of the Committee. In either case; the secretary of the Committee shall mail or deliver a notice, in writing, to the Board of Selectmen of each of the member towns that a proposal to amend this agreement has been made and shall enclose a copy of such proposal (without the signatures in the case of a proposal by petition). The Selectmen of each member town shall include in the warrant for the next Annual or a Special Town Meeting called for the purpose an article stating the proposal or the substance thereof. Such amendment shall take effect upon its acceptance by all the member towns, acceptance by each town to be by a majority vote at a Town Meeting as aforesaid.

§ 69-9 Admission of additional towns to District.

By an amendment of this agreement adopted under and in accordance with § 69-8 above, any other town or towns may be admitted to the Regional School District upon adoption as therein provided of such amendment and upon acceptance by the town or towns seeking admission of the agreement as so amended and also upon compliance with such provisions of law as may be applicable and such terms as may be set forth in such an amendment.

§ 69-10 Withdrawal.

A. 
Limitations. The withdrawal of a member town the District may be affected by an amendment to this agreement in the manner thereinafter provided by this section. Any member town seeking to withdraw shall, by vote at an Annual or Special Town Meeting, request the Committee to draw up an amendment to this agreement setting forth the terms by which such town may withdraw from the District, provided that the said town shall remain liable to the District for its share of the indebtedness of the District outstanding at the time of such withdrawal, and for interest thereon, to the same extent and in the same manner as though the town had not withdrawn from the District.
B. 
Procedure. The Clerk of the town seeking to withdraw shall notify the Committee, in writing, that such town has voted to request the Committee to draw up an amendment to the agreement (enclosing a certified copy of such vote). Thereupon, the Committee shall draw up an amendment to the agreement setting forth such terms of withdrawal as it deems advisable, subject to the limitation contained in § 69-8A. The Secretary of the Committee shall mail or deliver a notice, in writing, to the Board of Selectmen of each member town that the Committee has drawn up an amendment to the Agreement providing for the withdrawal of a member town (enclosing a copy of such amendment). The Selectmen of each member town shall include in the warrant for the next Annual or a Special Town Meeting called from the purpose an article stating the amendment or the substance thereof. Such amendment shall take effect upon its acceptance by all of the member towns, acceptance by each town to be by a majority vote at a Town Meeting as aforesaid.
C. 
Cessation of terms of office of withdrawing town's members. Upon the effective date of withdrawal the terms of office of all members serving on the Regional District School Committee from the withdrawing town shall terminate and the total membership of the Committee shall be decreased accordingly.
D. 
Apportionment of capital costs after withdrawal. The withdrawing town's annual share of any future installment of the principal and interest in obligations outstanding on the effective date of its withdrawal shall be fixed at the percentage prevailing for such town at the last annual apportionment made next prior to the effective date of the withdrawal. The remainder of any such installment after subtracting the share of any town or towns in which have withdrawn shall be apportioned to the remaining member town or towns in the manner provided in § 69-5D or as may be otherwise provided in the amendment providing for such withdrawal.

§ 69-11 Students.

A. 
Vocational and trade school pupils. Any pupil residing in a member town who is desirous of attending a trade or vocational school outside the District shall have all the privileges of attending such a school as are now or may be hereafter provided for by law and the cost of tuition for attending such a school and the cost of transportation, when necessary, shall be borne by the town wherein the student resides.
B. 
Admission of pupils residing outside the District. The Committee may accept for enrollment in the Regional District school pupils from towns other than the member towns on a tuition basis and upon such terms as it may determine. Income received by the District from tuition pupils shall be deducted from the total operating costs in the next annual budget to be prepared after the receipt thereof, prior to apportionment under § 69-5 to the member towns.

§ 69-12 Employment of teachers.

All teachers in positions to be superseded by the establishment and operation of the Regional School District shall be given consideration for similar positions in the Regional District schools to the extent that such positions exist therein. Any such teacher who on the date of his/her contract of employment with the District is then on tenure shall continue to serve on a tenure basis.

§ 69-13 Jurisdiction of pupils.

At such times as it elects, the Regional District School Committee shall give written notice by registered or certified mail to the local School Committee of the member towns specifying the date on which the Regional District School Committee shall assume jurisdiction over the pupils in all the grades of the District, which date shall be consistent with the availability of new facilities to accommodate the pupils in grades seven through 12. The said notice shall be mailed at least 30 days prior to the date specified in the notice on which jurisdiction will be assumed.