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."