Regional School District Planning Board June 15
One of the stories that will get lost in the wake of the contentious Select Board decision tonight not to squander $6.5 million tax dollars for an "unremarkable" forest is the (formerly) head long rush to regionalize our pre-Kindergarten through 6th grade with partners Leverett and Pelham will now be delayed for a full year.
We of course already have a 50+ year old Region at the 7th through 12th grade level with Leverett, Pelham and Shutesbury, so the mission creep to the lower grades is seen as a natural way to standardize education throughout the entire system.
But Shutesbury upset the apple cart by withdrawing from the about-to-be-proposed Region, although representative Michael DeChiara continues to attend and participate in meetings of the Regional School District Planning Board.
One of the problems to overcome is the lopsided make up of the proposed Region -- at least as far as governance is concerned. Even if all four towns agree to rationalize the way they do now for Middle and High School, Amherst still makes up 88% of the region for population.
Currently the Regional School Committee is governed by 9 members: five from Amherst, 2 from Pelham and one each from Leverett and Shutesbury. Thus Amherst has 55% of the voting power to represent 88% of the people, and little old Pelham has 22% of the voting power while representing only 3% of the population.
Daniel Shays would be so proud.
The problem (worth fighting over) is the RSDPB doesn't seem concerned about rectifying a balance of power that significantly shortchanges Amherst.
6/24 update to Amherst Select Board: "Ugh!"