Amherst School Committee 11/15/16
Rather than accept the losing vote as an indication that something was not right with the exceedingly expensive building project, three-fifths of the School Committee chose to bitterly blame Town Meeting for not upholding the "will of the people" from last week's ballot vote.
But you have to wonder if those three are math challenged since the two votes mirrored each other almost identically ... except for the outcome.
In 1968 President Johnson beat challenger Gene McCarthy by 7% in the New Hampshire primary but not nearly the margin he should have won by. So he quit the race.
A 50.47% margin is fine when only a majority is required but still, to quote Eric Nakajima, "indicates the town is deeply divided." But when that same measure required 66.67% a razor thin majority is NOT EVEN CLOSE.
In fact even the "popular vote" last Tuesday they are so quick to cite the question DID NOT GET A MAJORITY. Out of the 15,089 votes cast 1,571 (10.4%) left the Mega School question blank. So the overall vote carried by only 45.21% in favor to 44.38% against or less than a majority.
Perhaps Mr. Nakajima is showing his experience with elections. He told his fellow committee members that he voted for the measure in Town Meeting, "but was not surprised by the result".
And now it's time to move forward to address those two buildings shortcomings in a manner that will win broad support.
"Everyone in town owns the solution."
Marla reads SASS statement. Select Board Chair Alisa Brewer sits behind her. Rockwell Town Meeting iconic illustration top right
Marla Goldberg-Jamate read a statement to the Committee during public comment from the winning side, Save Amherst Small Schools:
Click to enlarge/read
Acting Superintendent Mike Morris told the Committee he has ten days to ask the state for an extension but will not since Town Meeting, "Emphatically said no."
And he would start the process to reapply to the MSBA as soon as possible but would do so under the "core program" and not the "accelerated repair program" since both buildings needs extensive work.
Since Wildwood has been updated more over the recent past it may very well be Fort River that will now step up to the plate for MSBA funding. Fort River is in need of a $1+ million roof replacement while Wildwood is in need of a $400,000 new boiler.
Ironically Town Meeting appropriated the $400,000 for the Wildwood boiler a few years ago but then that money was diverted into the $1 million schematic design that came up with the just defeated Mega School.
Vince O'Connor tells School Committee the $350,000 Town Meeting will vote on tonight for DPW schematic design should be redirected to school building issue