League of Women Voters School Building Forum last night
Not sure too many minds were changed by the League of Women Voters forum on the new Mega School last night, which attracted parents, School Committee, Select Board and Town Meeting members in almost equal measures.
Although little to no college aged youth.
Any yes surely the entire audience of about 100 will be voting on the ballot question on November 8th with probably the highest turnout in Amherst election history.
But continued status quo is not a good thing for proponents of the shiny new co-located school as recent school related chaotic events has eroded confidence in their overall administration.
Proponents of the $67 million project cited equity, health & safety, streamline efficiencies and of course the state's contribution to a little over half the project cost, while opponents zeroed in on the the high overall cost of the building and even higher cost of "grade reconfiguration" which breaks up the neighborhood school concept in favor of a two grades 2-6 schools in one.
The Finance Committee presented facts that will make the average homeowner break into a cold sweat especially considering the other three building projects waiting in line behind the Schools.
The ballot question will not even have a number attached to it but the School Building Committee announced the state had approved the project at $67.2 million with the town share of $33.7 million.
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The Finance Committee also pointed out that should the ballot question fail or Town Meeting turns down the authorization, the School Building Committee can try again with the same concept as happened in 1996 with the $22 million High School expansion that passed the second time around.
Or they can downsize the project and/or combine it with a renovation of one school and much smaller new school and resubmit a statement of interest to the MSBA. The state agency does also fund two projects in one town (Granby for instance) as long as one is completed before applying for the second.
Necessity is the mother of invention. Voting No on November 8 will certainly stimulate a little inventiveness from town officials and send a message about the other major projects lining up in the queue.