Vote was 123 yes, 92 no, 9 abstain (224 present)
Yogi Berra had the right idea although he could have been a tad more specific about which path to choose. Perhaps he was suggesting how important experience and instinct are when making decisions, like that famous Supreme Court justice line about knowing porn when he sees it.
For Amherst Town Meeting last night the same path was chosen for a second time even though sternly forewarned it's a dangerous road.
In spite of unanimous approval of the Select Board, School Committee, Finance Committee (with one abstention) and a slew of vocal supporters the $67.2 million Mega School project failed to garner the two thirds votes necessary to pass a bond issue.
Supporters rally at entry to Middle School last night
Perhaps the most devastating testimony came from member Russ Vernon Jones a retired long time Principal of Fort River School, which these days some folks try to portray as health hazard:
"The education plan (2-6) does not match what works best. Grade configuration is BIG mistake. Neighborhood schools build community. This will dismantle K-6 for many years to come. Of course teachers want a new school! But previously they opposed it when other opportunities were available."And Maria Kopicki was her usual professorially articulate self, presenting persuasive statistics showing the wait for state funds on a new plan is not necessarily a generation away.
But the sooner Mega School supporters accept defeat and withdraw this project from the MSBA pipeline the sooner we can get started on a new and improved project that will attract widespread support.
A much needed step to make Amherst great again.
Focus may shift from Wildwood (bottom) to Fort River School (top)
(And with the new 100 year flood plain maps, which FEMA may approve in the next two years, showing dramatic reduction in the overlay around Fort River that school site could get more buildable, although it would require Town Meeting removing it from Flood Prone Conservancy overlay.)
Click to enlarge/read