- Budget Information
- Business Office
- General Information
- Human Resources
- Information Systems
- Policy Manual
- School Committee
- Teaching and Learning
- English Language Learning
- No Child Left Behind (NCLB)
- School Year Calendar
- Section 504
- Special Education
- Summer School
- Contact Us
Consultants Sharing Findings in Relation to Exploration of Regionalization
Submitted by kochn on Mon, 01/28/2013 - 7:57am.
On Saturday February 2, 2013 a “Report to Our Communities” meeting will be hosted by the Regional School District Planning Board (RSDPB) of Amherst, Leverett, Pelham and Shutesbury. This is an opportunity for the public to hear directly from consultants about their findings relative to possible regionalization of the four town’s elementary schools. The two consultants were tasked with providing information about current and potential finances and education. Mark Abrahams will present on financial matters and Malcolm Reid will present on educational matters. Time for audience questions about these reports will be provided. The session will be held at the Amherst Regional Middle School auditorium from 1:00 to 3:00 pm.
The RSDPB is guided by five key values: being good stewards; being fiscally responsible; providing ample opportunities for town and resident input; respecting and reflecting the culture of the different communities; and maintaining the best features of current schools and capitalizing on their strengths. As such, following the Report to Our Communities, the RSDPB has scheduled a forum in each of the four towns to gather feedback and facilitate further discussion. Beginning on February 13 through March 2, each town’s three-person Regional School District Planning Committee will host a forum for residents to provide feedback in advance of a recommendation by the RSDPB:
- Wednesday Feb. 13 in Amherst. 7:00pm in Amherst Regional High School library
- Wednesday Feb. 27 in Shutesbury. 6:30pm at Shutesbury Elementary School
- Thursday Feb. 28 Leverett. 6:30pm at Town Hall
- Saturday March 2 in Pelham. 10am in Library Community Room
On Saturday March 9, the RSDPB expects to vote whether or not to move forward in creating a region for elementary schools. Options under consideration are 1) not to regionalize elementary schools, 2) create a preK-6th grade region, or 3) expand the current 7-12 region to include grades preK-12. In all three options, the towns will continue to provide 7-12th grade education through the regional middle and high schools, a multi-town relationship that has resulted in successfully serving students for 58 years.
If the RSDPB votes to move forward in creating a preK-6th grade or preK-12th grade region, additional forums with residents will be held in approximately April, July, and October 2013 to gather information for the creation and revision of two documents required by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE): a Long Range Educational Plan and a Regional School District Agreement. If a regionalization proposal based on these documents is passed by voters in each Town in November 2013, all materials must be submitted to DESE by December 2013 for a new region to be established in July 2014, in advance of the school year beginning September 2014.
The Regional School District Planning Committees were created in 2011 by Town Meetings in each of the four towns to explore the topic of regionalizing at the elementary school level. The Town Moderators appointed three members to these committees. In June 2012, after meeting for six months to determine if a joint venture might be appropriate, the representatives unanimously voted to establish a four-town Regional School District Planning Board (RSDPB). Since July, the twelve board members and experts hired to provide analyses have been visiting all the elementary schools, interviewing school leadership, staff, PTO’s and school councils.
In describing why this exploration process is important, Andrew Steinberg, Chair of the Regional School District Planning Board (RSDPB) and Amherst Finance Committee Chair, stated, “Our communities are recognized for a long history and commitment to quality and effective education. Our towns have thrived because those before us created regional Middle and High Schools that are recognized for providing high quality education. Today, it is our turn and it is our responsibility to explore ways to continue this tradition for the benefit of our residents and coming generations of children and families.”
The four towns of Amherst, Leverett, Pelham and Shutesbury have shared a secondary region for grades 7-12 since 1955. Since then the four towns have sporadically explored regionalization for elementary grades in 1968, 1976, 1992, and 2009.
More information can be found at the RSDPB website - www.RegionalSchoolPlanning.com.
Last updated January 28, 2013