Amherst Regional School Committee all 9 members (including one by remote participation)
Even before the Amherst Regional School Committee could get to the official agenda item scheduled for 6:20 to discuss the 3.5 years in the making Regional Agreement Working Group report, RAWG member Michael DeChiara dropped a bombshell during "public comment", telling the committee he would not support the proposal and would be telling his Shutesbury constituents to vote it down.
Michael DeChiara, Maria Geryk (Amilcar Shabazz above her), Michael Morris
When the Regional Committee then started discussing the RAWG proposal Shutesbury representative Stephen Sullivan echoed DeChiara's concerns and clearly said he would vote no.
Parent and Town Meeting member Janet McGowan told the committee the public outreach on Regionalization has been nonexistent
Amherst representatives were also less than impressed: Lawrence O'Brien said he "had concerns", Rick Hood said it was "not ready", Kathleen Traphagen did not see any "compelling educational case" and the disembodied voice of Amilcar Shabazz (using remote participation) could not have been any more clear: "Put a stop on the school attorney from doing any more work on this matter. Moving in this direction now should be Dead On Arrival."
Katherine Appy was the lone member of the entire 9 member Regional School Committee to speak in favor of the idea. The RSC is scheduled to vote on this Regionalization proposal at their next meeting, March 10.
Since it involves amending the Regional Agreement it will require a supermajority two-thirds vote. Had the vote been taken at this meeting it certainly looked like it would be 8-1 against.
Rick Hood said they should continue to move forward with the public forums (March 3 for Amherst ) but the timeline for all four towns to vote an the agreement should be pushed back until spring, 2016.
It has already been 3.5 years for this particular regionalization agreement and some members mentioned previous attempts date back 40 years or more, so what's another year.
Not overly crowded audience in attendance