My Goal in Blogging

I started this blog in May of 2008, shortly after my election to the School Committee, because I believed it was very important to both provide the community with an opportunity to share their thoughts with me about our schools and to provide me with an opportunity for me to ask questions and share my thoughts and reasoning. I have found the conversation generated on my blog to be extremely helpful to me in learning community views on many issues. I appreciate the many people who have taken the time to share their views. I believe it is critical to the quality of our public schools to have a public discussion of our community priorities, concerns and aspirations.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Small-town school board puts opt-out stamp on state ed reform - TAKE 2

Note: Given all the interest that the Amherst School Committee's decision to seek information on options regarding Union 26 has generated, I decided to post the link to the story that really started it all -- which appeared in March in the Gazette. As you can read in this story, the change in the law was a direct result of action on the part of the Chair of the Shutesbury School Committee, and in fact occurred because Shutesbury was interested in studying its options to get out of Union 28. I am surprised that there wasn't considerable turmoil about the School Committee in Shutesbury's interest in studying this issue, JUST LIKE THE SCHOOL COMMITTEE IN AMHERST. I first put up this link on Friday, but it wasn't working -- it is now available, and I encourage you to read it.

One more note -- I'm now going to be posting links to stories in the Gazette, and if you click on the link, you will get to the full story. The Gazette has moved to make their stories on education (that might be of interest to my readers) available without a subscription. Please let me know if you have problems accessing the full story (now or at any time) and I will then check into that.

Hampshire Gazette
Thursday, March 11, 2010


Facts are good said...

This article must be read by anyone thinking about the current situation with respect to Union 26 -- and everyone blogging about it. Incredible.

Alison Donta-Venman said...

Yes, it is very interesting that Shutesbury moved ahead with this idea and was successful in having it signed into law without any public input yet did not suffer the public outcry afterward that Amherst is experiencing right now regarding their examination of the Union 26 agreement.

Catherine A. Sanderson said...

My response:

Facts Are Good - I agree. I hope all of my blog readers will take the time to paste this link and read this article!

Alison - Exactly. One town moved forward on changing a state law that would allow towns to exit a union; one town asked a lawyer would this law would mean for their town. Yet there was no public outcry in response to the move by the head of the Shutesbury SC, and massive public outcry in response to Amherst's request for legal advice on our options with respect to this law. Apparently it is fine with the community for Shutesbury to exercise its own rights to exit a union (which was clearly their motivation for changing the law), although that would indeed potentially have an impact on Amherst (which is not supposed to even consider exiting its own -- far more disproportionate -- union): one idea that has been proposed is forming a union of Leverett-Shutesbury-Pelham (which would involve Pelham withdrawing from Amherst!), and another is forming a union of Leverett-Shutesbury-Pelham-Amherst (meaning Amherst would go from having 50% say in hiring a superintendent to 25%). Both of these solutions would CLEARLY impact Amherst.

TomG said...

I wonder how much of the outcry is purely reactionary and not motivated by specific issues that would effect students and taxpayers if the Union were to be rescinded.

What are the specific results that would effect Amherst or Pelham students and taxpayers if the Union is rescinded?

Reactionaries, Please advise!

I have an idea. If a law can be passed that allows a Union to be dissolved, then a law can be passed that allows the creation of a new kind of union where representation in the union is roughly proportional to the tax revenues funding the joined school district. I don't know if it that structure would solve problems or create more but it's a thought.