PEPPERELL — “It would be a cash cow, a positive with no side effects,” North Middlesex Regional School District (NMRSD) Superintendent James McCormick said regarding the potential assimilation of Mason, N.H., schools into the district.

This was McCormick’s answer to a question from Finance Committee (FinCom) Chairman Christopher DeSimone during last week’s initial 2007 budget review in Town Hall.

Discussing the negotiations that brought Mason to the table, McCormick said, “(Other school systems) are using it as an example. I’m proud of it.”

“New Hampshire has given the OK to pursue the deal. We have an agreement in principle but it is unsigned,” he said. “Two thirds (of the students) would go into Pepperell schools. It would be tuition-based.”

Mason is presently part of the 1,372-student, six-school Mascenic Regional School District that includes Greenville, Mason, and New Ispwich, N.H. The district has a 13-to-one student-teacher ratio. McCormick is striving for a 22-to-one ratio.

Mason has 1,269 residents, according to the 2004 census. The town is located immediately north of Townsend.

“Student placement is governed by New Hampshire law,” said McCormick. “New Hampshire is like a roller coaster depending upon the wealth in the towns. The (agreement) needs to go to the state because whatever they pay us goes off property taxes.”

The agreement is currently before New Hampshire legislature. McCormick said he doesn’t see it in place, if approved, before the next school year.

“It’s a tight agreement. No curve balls,” he assured the FinCom. “Paying $8,200 to $8,400 to us is better than the $13,000 to $14,000 per student Mason pays now. I’ve got it covered,” McCormick said.

“How much revenue is involved?” FinCom member Stephanie Cronin asked.

“About $200,000 to the high school and $300,000 to Pepperell Schools. Pure,” McCormick said. “That’s a conservative figure. Right now it would involve the Varnum Brook, Peter Fitzpatrick and Nissitissit Schools.”

“We’re talking 65 to 70 kids across all grades,” said Assistant Superintendent Robert Dempsey.

Pepperell has room to accommodate the out-of-state students, according to administrators. Particularly in the Nissitissit School, which was designed to house 860 students and currently educates less than 650.