RSC voted unanimously to support $30 million budget but no vote on Regionalization
The Amherst Pelham Regional School Committee closed the door on sending an agreement to all four Town Meetings this year by not coming to a vote in favor of the draft document presented to them last month by their subcommittee, the Regional Agreement Working Group.
Since the education expansion involves amending the Regional Agreement it would have required a two-thirds vote of the committee and then must be approved by all four town meetings.
Currently the four towns -- Amherst, Leverett, Pelham, and Shutesbury -- have been joined in a Region at grades 7-12 for almost 60 years.
RSC Chair Trevor Baptiste (center)
Regional School Committee Chair Trevor Baptiste started the meeting (8 minutes late) by saying the agenda allowed ten minutes of discussion on the idea but that it should serve to come up with an outline for a longer discussion at their upcoming March 24 meeting.
The Select Board is scheduled to sign the Amherst Town Meeting final warrant at their March 23rd meeting.
The discussion then went on for almost 45 minutes with most members solidly agreeing a lot more time is needed to flesh out a regional agreement, even after the three years of work by their sub-committee.
While improving the quality of education at the preK-6 level is paramount it still has to be politically palatable enough to pass all four town meetings, and Amherst School Committee member Kathleen Traphagen suggested it would be helpful if actual cost savings could be documented.
The School Committee's attorney has yet to provide them with a legally vetted document that imbeds all the changes suggested by RAWG into the current Regional Agreement, so it would have been all but impossible to vote on it this evening anyway.
As generations of Boston Red Sox fans would say, "We'll get 'em next year!"