Friday, October 9, 2015

Expensive Swap

Amherst Regional Middle School, currently holding 7 & 8 grades

The Joint Capital Planning Committee -- made up of members from Town, Schools, Library, and Finance Committee -- unanimously recommended approval of Article 9, to spend $150,000 to carve out a spot (4,000 sq ft) at the Regional Middle School for the town's Leisure Services & Supplemental Education, aka Recreation Department.

They also unanimously supported Article 8 which would "repurpose" the $150K from money already approved by Town Meeting to rehab the East Street School.   In 2014 $700,000 was appropriated to renovate the former school so LSSE could relocate there,  but bids came in much too high -- mainly for ADA improvements.

 JCPC:  Schools, Library, Select Board, Finance Committee

That renovation plan, after completing roof work, has been put on hold with about $565,000 remaining.

 East Street School:  Expensive White Elephant?

The Amherst Regional Public Schools are considering merging Middle School students (grades 6-8) into the High School thus freeing up the building for other activities.  Greenfield Community College has expressed an interest in using it as a satellite school.

LSSE currently uses the Bangs Community Center as their home base but that spot is being taken by Community Health Center a satellite operation of the Hilltown Community Health Center.  The program will bring medical and dental services to those without health insurance.

JCPC also unanimously supported spending $26,000 for electronic voting hand sets to bring antiquated Town Meeting into the 21st century.  Finance Director Sandy Pooler confirmed town officials had set aside $27,000 in monies from the previous Fiscal Year.

Town Meeting, which starts November 2,  is the final authority on all spending but they usually follow the advice of JCPC.

Mandi Jo Hanneke (right) from Town Meeting Electronic Voting Studey Committee pitches the JCPC on time saving and accountability attributes of newfangled voting devices.  Later that night the Finance Committee also endorsed spending the $26K


Anonymous said...

"Community Health Center a satellite operation of the Hilltown Community Health Center. The program will bring medical and dental services to those without health insurance."

I thought that RomneyCare and ObamaCare meant that everyone had health insurance.

Sure it is expensive and it sucks, not to mention is big government run a muck, but all of this is for the greater good of living in a country where everyone has health insurance.

So why is this necessary? Doesn't everyone have health insurance?

Walter Graff said...

Prior to the affordable care act uninsured was about 18%. Now it is just under 12%.

Anonymous said...

Yes, if you are living on the streets you can sign up for free health care, but the reality is that some of the people living on the streets don't exactly have the skills to sign up for anything. That's why they are homeless and jobless.

Anonymous said...

The title says it all.

Government involved so this will be wasteful and expensive.
Amherst is the town, it will be even more so.
This has to do with the schools, so sky's the limit on spending.
Oh and there is a building involved, money is no absolutely no object, we have dumb citizens that will give us as much as we tell them to and force their neighbors to do the same, and do it again next year. We can use the all mighty % that few understand and many are willing to invade their neighbor's wallet over.

The real question is how the town can get more authority and somehow compel a 4 year parking debate that ends up with a parking lot at $9000 a spot....per year. Paid by people that cannot afford health insurance.

Hey let's put another community college unit in so folks can get the version of education that no one cares about. It will help those that want to be teachers of things that no one cares about. As long as the kids get loans and pay, right. It's not like there is anyplace to learn anything in town, or perhaps better said, it's not like there is anyone in town that has learned anything.

Perhaps they could have a GCC class on government spending, but who on earth would teach it honestly in Mass?

You would think Amherst had 100,000 people and still overspent by reading these posts.

Larry Kelley said...

I just shine a light. You're free to interpret what it illuminates any way you wish.

In other words, "Don't shoot me I'm only the piano player."

Nina Koch said...

I think the community colleges offer a lot of important training and certification programs for workforce development. Someone can go study HVAC, for example, and get a good job right away once they complete the program. Businesses in the region are strong supporters of community colleges.

Anonymous said...

isn't Amherst Reg Middle School currently for grades 7 & 8 only, & the 6th graders attend the elementary schools.

There was a talk a few years ago about adding the 6th grade to the middle school, since doing so would require modifications to the regional school agreement with Pelham, Leverett, & Shutesbury, it seems like this is no longer under consideration.

Larry Kelley said...

Yes, my mistake. Corrected. (Behold the wisdom of the crowd)

Anonymous said...

I would think the folks here would support GCC classes for those students who want an alternative to the traditional high-school classes.

Anonymous said...

Use the middle school for a charter school -- for the children who wish to learn.

Anonymous said...

to anon 5:22, HS kids already can take classes at any community college. There is even a grant that allows them to take one for free. It's just not something that is brought up much.

Anonymous said...

The middle school is a really nice building with a pool, big gym, art rooms, music rooms, practice space for the band, auditorium, a big cafeteria all in great condition. Why not put more students there? Put the elementary students and middle school student together? There is space and great facilities. Why put GCC night classes in the middle school and not in the high school where actual high school students are?

Anonymous said...

Yes! So much common sense in this comment.

Anonymous said...

You mean the Unafordable Care Act.

Anonymous said...

It's interesting that the district chose to show an educational documentary, Most Likely to Succeed, Wed night that highlights the innovative education provided at High Tech High, a charter school in California.

ARPS students going to charter schools instead of the Amherst & Amherst Regional public schools costs the district millions of dollars each year.