Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Regionalization Round Up Continued

Regional School Committee voted last night to get busy in October with Regionalization

The cattle drive merging the four-town Regional School District from current grades 7-12 all the way down to pre-Kindergarten, after four years of pretty much behind closed doors discussion, will pick up the more public pace in October.  Somewhat dramatically.

Last night the Regional School Committee voted to ad an October 1st meeting to their busy schedule and to form a sub committee (Kip Fonsh, Trevor Baptiste and Stephen Sullivan) to create a Public Relations "Presentation" to sell Regionalization to the general public.

The idea is to have "Public Forums" in all four towns -- Amherst, Pelham, Leverett and Shutesbury -- with each of the forums being an official meeting of the Regional School Committee (thus requiring at least 5 of nine members present).

The presentation will be the standard powerpoint variety based on the document to amend the current Regional Agreement, and school administrators (Superintendent Maria Geryk and Assistant Superintendent Mike Morris) will be on hand to answer questions.

All the public forums will be held close together in October to create, according to Chair Trevor Baptiste, "A rolling momentum of the scuttlebutt of Regionalization."

The Regional School Committee has also kicked around the idea of hiring a PR firm to handle outreach although member Vira Douangmany Cage keeps reminding members the in-house 'Amherst Together' initiative should be assisting with the public relations.

Long time audience observer Marylou Theilman suggested the proposed Regional Agreement be posted on town and school websites ASAP and also pointed out the current document lacked the stamp identifying it as a "draft".   It would also be helpful if the pages were numbered.

After the four public forums in October the Regional School Committee will have a few months to discuss any changes and resubmit the proposal to the School District's attorney for a final rewrite in time for presentation to all four Town Meetings in the spring.

In order to amend the Regional Agreement and make this happen all four towns must vote yes.  Shutesbury officials, however,  continuously telegraph they will vote "no."


Anonymous said...

You can lead the Region to water, but you can't make it drink?

Larry Kelley said...

I wouldn't be surprised if less than a majority of the four towns vote yes, as opposed to the unanimous approval needed.

Anonymous said...

What are the real benefits of joining together or staying apart?

If 4 towns working together is better than working alone, would 8 towns be even better, would it be the best if all schools were managed on the state level, the fed, or even by an international board?

Is the size of the school system the issue or is it a lack of skills that is being addressed here?

Why is there a simultaneous trend towards large school systems when the school systems are left to decide, but there is also a large trend towards home schooling, when passionate parents decide, the exact opposite?

Doesn't a larger school system give individuals less of a voice? Wouldn't that be bad unless you work for or run the schools?

What is regionalization really about? What is the problem being solved and who really benefits?

Are our local public schools providing a better value than private schools? Do comparable private educations cost $21,000 a year?

Amherst is currently alienating student and professional teachers due to the politics. This is a fact and is discussed by students picking schools to teach in, Amherst has a bunk reputation in this regard, folks find this blog fast when researching the school system. This seems like a much larger issue and something to deal with, you will only have teachers that are stuck or ignorant, two groups of folks I don't want teaching my kids. Why would three more towns want to be part of that?

Anonymous said...

If Shutesbury is voting no, isn't the whole thing dead? What is the point with going on? Also, what are the objections of Shutesbury? Were they discussed by the Regional School Committee to understand Shutesbury's reasons for opposition?

Anonymous said...

I share 10:32 confusion. Also I don't understand why TM continues to fund unconditionally and simply rubber-stamps the budget.

Anonymous said...

"The Regional School Committee has also kicked around the idea of hiring a PR firm to handle outreach although member Vira Douangmany Cage keeps reminding members the in-house 'Amherst Together' initiative should be assisting with the public relations."

The School Committee wants to spend taxpayer funds to persuade taxpayers to support this effort?

Larry Kelley said...

Pretty much. Although I'm sure they would word it differently.

Anonymous said...

The public outreach by school officials & committees around regionalization has been poor at best. there have only be few public forums in the 3-4+ years on regionalization, & little information has been readily made available to the public about why the towns should support it.

plus, as an Amherst resident, what I have seen suggests that regionalization will cost Amherst & Amherst tax payers money, not save any. Why should we supporting it again?

there is going to need to be a lot more outreach & better information for this to go anywhere.

Anonymous said...

yes, I can see why Amherst needs to hire spin-masters to fool Amherst residents to support regionalizing even though it will not reduce our cost burden (likely to increase it) and will massively disinfranchise our voting power. I find it highly unethical to spend education funds on this. How can our SC members be so stupid? I don't get it...

Dr. Ed said...

I say again: Exactly what part of "diluting" Black votes is not a violation of the Voting Rights Act?

When you have four communities, three essentially all-White and one not, and the value of the vote in the latter is diluted, you have also diluted the Black vote.

Anonymous said...

Amherst School district needs to reflect on the social engineering experiments and policies they adopted in recent years. Eliminating discipline & suspension to narrow discipline gap; Eliminating curriculum acceleration and curriculum choices to narrow achievement gap. These social justice agenda doesn't achieve what they aim to achieve. They didn't help the targeting students they want to help. Instead of "No children were left behind", all children are left behind. Parents are upset and fed up. Students walked out. $20,000 per students education cost sits squarely on local residents's shoulder. Such social justice policy, with the sky high 2% local property tax rate, drives families away, and deter new families coming to this town.

The regional product, the Amherst Regional High School is facing million dollars budget deficits even with $20,000 per student budget. Regional High school and middle needs to consolidate into a single building to cut cost. This is the direct fallout of the dramatic failure of social justice, and social engineering experiments of Amherst Regional School in recent years.

The school district needs to make it clear to all 4 town parents and residents. Are they going to double down on their social engineering agenda and push that failed experiments from 7-12 grade to all k-12 grade by regionalization? The four town residents want to hear an clear answer.

Anonymous said...

That is pure horseshit.

Anonymous said...

I'm really beginning to become nauseated by liberalism. (They call it 'progressivism' ). Don't forget the Dems were the party of slavery, of the KKK, of the Confederacy, of Jim Crow, and let's not forget Prohibition. Enough!