Clarksburg will hold a special town meeting Thursday to ask voters to allow the town to study a potential merger of its school system with Stamford, Vt.

The Berkshire Eagle reports the upcoming meeting is not, officials stressed at a recent informational session, a vote on whether to merge districts — only an authorization to study what that might look like.

Officials are considering creation of a single district that would fall under the North Berkshire School Union umbrella. Closing either school is not under consideration. The study, which would be conducted by an outside consulting firm, would explore whether the two schools would benefit from combined resources and close geographic proximity. At the earliest, officials expect an agreement to take effect in fall 2019.

Any final agreement would require another approval from voters in both towns, both legislatures and Congress.

There are currently no other interstate agreements between a Massachusetts school and one in another state, according to state officials.

If Clarksburg voters approve the study next week, the next step is to hope for approval of a matching $25,000 to fund it from the Vermont Legislature.

Massachusetts already has set aside $25,000 for the study, thanks to late Rep. Gailanne Cariddi, who requested the funding shortly before her death last year.

Stamford enters the study phase having few other options.

Clarksburg officials have taken stock of the county's declining population and ongoing efforts of the Berkshire County Education Task Force to encourage shared services.

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