Sunday, March 2, 2014

Sharing The Burden

 John Musante bottom left, School Superintendent Maria Geryk right, Sean  Mangano standing (Rob Detweiler's, err, replacement)

Amherst Town Manager John Musante made it perfectly clear which method of financing he prefers to fund the Regional Schools next Fiscal Year at the Four Town Meeting of the Regional Schools Saturday morning.

The four member towns -- Amherst, Leverett, Pelham and Shutesbury -- use their own modified system (more complicated than the IRS tax code) based on a rolling average, called the Regional Agreement Method.

And every year -- because of a "five year rolling average" -- one of the four towns seems to pay a little more.  This year it's Shutesbury's turn.

The state recommends their own Statutory Method, also very complicated, but with less of a variation every few years.  Using the Regional Agreement Method, next year Amherst would pay $14,541,118 of the total $18,834,753 Regional budget (77%), an increase of $382,288 or 2.7% over last year.

If however the Region switches to the Statutory Method of funding, Amherst would pay $14,682,553 of the total $18,834,753 Regional Budget.   An increase of $523,723 or 4.1% over last year.  Musante pointed out the difference between those two dollar amounts is $141,435, but as a percentage is a whopping 33% increase. 

The problem is Shutesbury is complaining (as they often do) about their 6.3% increase under the usual Regional Agreement Method.  Should their Town Meeting reject the appropriation that would scuttle the entire Regional Budget.  In other words it requires a unanimous vote of all four towns.

Whereas if the four town Region uses the state approved Statutory Method one town can vote no and the budget still passes.  In other words the vote does not have to be unanimous.

Shutesbury has already played the spoiler by pulling out of the proposed expansion of the Region all the way down to kindergarten from the current 7-12 Region.  Shutesbury voted not to join the proposed expanded Region but wishes to stay in the grades 7-12 Region but possibly share the same Superintendent for their elementary school.

Although at the four town meeting yesterday one Amherst official voiced the opinion "you are either in or out" of the new Region, and no special allowances should be made for non believers.


Anonymous said...

People who show up on the fore front of educational governance in Shutesbury act like spoiled children. It is clear from the library controversy in that town that the people are divided. I suspect ones pushing the unnecessary library are the ones Amherst deals with on the Region and in this planning board. They seem pushy and opinionated. Those people don't look out for the interests of all kids. If the division in Shutesbury is any indication they don't look out for the interest of half the town. Shutesbury may want to find better leaders.

When Amherst had to pay a higher amount than they wanted for the region some years ago Shutesbury said to bad. The current Shutesbury leaders want to voice their opinions on the regional agreement but don't want to be governed by it. I don't know who stood up for Amherst and said Shutesbury should be in or out, but I am happy someone stood up. Shutesbury should be booted for the regional planning committee. They should never be allowed to use the Amherst or Regional Superintendent for their K-6. That would be like to Super having two separate jobs. Either our super works for us or Shutesbury k-6 but never both.

Wearing a garment of hair and a leather belt around his waist said...

"Although at the four town meeting yesterday one Amherst official voiced the opinion "you are either in or out" of the new Region, and no special allowances should be made for non believers."

Oh Detweiler our wayward pet,

where are you vulnerable one?


(you should not have gone there)

-Squeaky Squeaks


As they crush



we will destroy


Anonymous said...

So Amherst pays 77% of the regional budget but this budget can be scuttled by a small town paying how much of the budget? Or if the assesssment changes, a budget can be voted in over Amherst's veto. So the towns paying 23% of the budget can force it on Amherst taxpayers. Nice system.