Regional School Committee Laura Kent, center
The Amherst Pelham Regional School Committee "reorganized" last night unanimously ousting outspoken (almost) two year Chair Trevor Baptiste from Pelham in favor of Amherst rookie Laura Kent who was only elected to her Amherst School Committee seat ten weeks ago.
The Region consists of four towns -- Amherst, Leverett, Pelham, and Shutesbury -- but Amherst provides 80% of the students and funding so Amherst representatives make up 5 of the nine Regional School Committee seats. Their budget this year is $30 million with a per pupil cost of $20,000.
Pelham School Committee Trevor Baptiste center
Apparently Mr. Baptiste's latest faux pas was to allow Public Comment on the Aisha Hiza affair at the April 12th meeting where community members and fellow ARHS grads read aloud a letter of support demanding due process over a stay away order issued to her on March 15th by Superintendent Maria Geryk.
Since that restraining order encompassed not just Pelham, where Miss Hiza's young daughter attends elementary school, but the entire Region -- social justice advocates figured they had a perfect right to bring it to the attention of the Regional School Committee.
Interestingly last night's Public Comment was dominated by highly paid school administrators singing the virtues of Superintendent Maria Geryk.
The sad story has since taken on a life of its own, generating heated comments on social media, newspaper editorials and providing yet another distraction from the core mission of our public schools: education.