Outside agencies considered to help with Hampden-Wilbraham school merger

Parents don't want their children lost in the shuffle

The Thornton W. Burgess Middle School in Hampden

WILBRAHAM, Mass. (WWLP) – Controversy continues over the proposal to combine two middle schools in the Hampden-Wilbraham Regional School District.

The middle school task force has recommended closing the Thornton Burgess Middle School in Hampden because of declining enrollment. Under that plan, all 220 students would attend Wilbraham Middle School.

Tuesday night, school district leaders talked about partnering with outside agencies to consider the proposed plans to unify the schools. The task force says combining the schools could save $1.5 million over the course of 3 years.


Combining Wilbraham, Hampden middle schools could save millions


However, some are curious to know if it’ll come at the cost of their child’s education. Heather Jolicoeur said, “I’m afraid that sending them all to one school eventually will have an increased class size. I think the Hampden kids will be felt as a burden.”

Other parents were concerned about the teachers, and how much it’d cost to expand a campus.

Superintendent Marty O’Shea told 22News working with an outside agency could help them reach those answers. “We want to put ourselves in a position where we can offer more programming to the students, we can offer more educational supports, and more social and emotional supports.”

The task force recommended the towns vote on the issue, which would need to be approved at town meetings in Wilbraham and Hampden before going on the November ballot.

Working with an agency would cost about $5,000.

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