Regional Agreement Working Group (established 2011) almost final meeting 10/15/14
After three years of spending evenings together discussing the best interests of their individual towns, err, I mean the collective-good-of-education-for-all-children-in-the-four-town-region, you would think the 12 member committee (4 from each town) would be solidly in favor of their plan to expand the Region (currently grades 7-12) all the way down to pre-kindergarten.
At the last Regional Agreement Working Group meeting (10/15) Shutesbury member Michael DeChiara started things off with a stern note of skepticism. Now one committee member does not make or break a proposed recommendation ... usually.
In this case, however, it could.
Because in order to change the Regional Agreement to allow the educational expansion, all four towns via their Town Meetings have to support the idea -- even if they do not plan to join the expanded Region at inception.
Now why would Shutesbury rain on this ill-prepared parade and say "no," thus killing the ambitious project? They are already involved with the Region at the 7-12 level, and could be concerned the expansion will destabilize the entire Region, costing them more financially.
Or the other deal killer expressed by another smaller town is that the newly expanded entity could decide to close an elementary school for the "good of the Region." And you can bet it would not be an Amherst (who makes up almost 90% of the new Region) elementary school on the chopping block.
At the 10/14 Amherst Regional School Committee Meeting Chair Trevor Baptiste, who is also a member of the RAWG, made it sound like the expanded regionalization report would very soon be coming before the Regional School Committee for their approval, which requires a two thirds vote.
The 10/15 meeting demonstrated they are not close to drafting a final report. And as of now, no further meetings of the RAWG have been scheduled.