Superintendent Frank Perotti explains to a group of Cornish students the significance of a plaque certifying that SAU 100 is now in operation. — TIMOTHY LAROCHE

A fresh start: Newly formed Cornish SAU 100 begins first school year

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CORNISH — A group of kids ran across the blacktop in front of Cornish Elementary School holding ice cream sundaes in green and white cups on Thursday — an exciting way to break up the first week of school. For the administrators standing nearby, the small ceremony just prior held exciting significance as well. Along with the start of the school year, the SAU 100 kickoff celebration announced the new administrative unit to students.

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After almost two years of sometimes controversial deliberation, the Cornish School District is now its own entity — SAU 100 — after its separation from SAU 6.

Although Principal Jen Prileson said that few of the students at the school noticed any real changeover, the message from staff is clear — with administrators on site to answer questions and make decisions, the district is already sparing itself the time to coordinate with and travel to the SAU 6 office in Claremont.

“We’ve been able to make a lot of our own decisions,” Prileson said of the administrative changeover.

Likewise, Cornish School Board Chair Justin Ranney said that there has been an immediate impact of the changeover. With a smaller administrative unit, the school is able to make decisions without the oversight of SAU 6, which serves Claremont and Unity. As Prileson also noted, having a smaller administrative unit and not being tied to the much larger Claremont School District means more local control in issues involving the district.

The Cornish School District officially separated from SAU 6 on July 1. As the 2016-2017 school year wound down, the Cornish School Board announced the new administration with Superintendent Frank Perotti, also of SAU 32, at the head. Prior to his work as a superintendent, Perotti spent 16 years as a middle school principal in Vermont.

Perotti, alongside Business Manager Beth Bierwirth and Director of Special Education Susan Gaspard split their time between the Cornish school and the Plainfield School District.

In the lead-up to the start of the school year, school board members and administrators spent much of the summer transferring records from the SAU 6 office to the new SAU 100 and dealing with the last minute financial aspects of the changeover. Several contracts also had to be renewed or readjusted.

For instance, Prileson praised the service provided to the school now by The Abbey Group, a commercial food-service based in Sheldon, Vermont. Although representatives from the Abbey Group asked at a recent school board meeting for some renovations to the kitchen at the school, board members said they were pleased with the services promised, and Prileson confirmed as much in regards to the work they have already done this year.

Prileson and Ranney also expressed their thanks to the technology team from Windsor Southeast Supervisory Union for their ongoing work with the Cornish school. A service agreement made recently between the school districts in regards to the technology team means that the Cornish school now has in-house access to technical support services two days each week. Prileson also commended the team on their responsiveness throughout the week.

Likewise, the district also unveiled a new website that serves the school, SAU 100 and the Cornish School Board — With the help of Librarian Kaitlyn Jones, the website launched over the summer break with the goal of better connecting the school with the community and parents.

With a major milestone met in the creation of the new SAU, business continues as usual, Ranney said. Looking ahead, such projects as the creation of a long term maintenance plan are expected to take center stage to prioritize and address areas in need of maintenance, he said.


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