Teachers, parents protest Amherst school project rejection

Proposal to combine two elementary schools last month failed in town meeting vote

AMHERST (WWLP) – Dozens of teachers and parents demonstrated at Amherst Town Hall on Monday night, hoping to revive a failed project that would combine the Wildwood Elementary School and Fort River Elementary School.

Both schools have leaks, mold and don’t comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act. In November, residents approved a ballot question to construct a new school that would replace and combine the existing two, but the measure failed in a town meeting vote.

Last month, a petition was started, calling for a re-vote. According to a news release sent to 22News by Johanna Neumann, a Fort River parent, 147 teachers and staff who work in Amherst schools, signed the petition and approve the proposal for the two elementary schools.

“As educators who want the healthiest and most conducive learning environment for our students, we urge Town Meeting to vote yes for new schools,” said Tim Austin, a 6th grade teacher at Fort River.

Wildwood Elementary School teacher Kristen Roeder told 22News the unsanitary conditions are distractions to students; “There’s no need to wait 10 years. The problems exist now. We’ve already got a really good plan underway, so many teachers support it, the town voted for it. Why not?”

“Over the past month, I have learned that a majority of teachers at Wildwood and Fort River support the project and that Amherst will have to go back to square one when it comes to pursuing state funding for a different proposal,” said Chris Riddle, a town meeting member from Precinct two who abstained from the first vote. “Given this new information, I hope my fellow town meeting members join me in voting yes on January 30th to secure this new school building for our town.”

If approved, the town would pay for half the $67-million project; the other half would come from the state.

Below is a list of everyone who signed the petition:

  1. Wildwood Marjory Ackerman occupational therapist
  2. Wildwood Florence Bakuli Para-clerical
  3. Wildwood Yarita Banda para-educator
  4. Wildwood Mtali Banda Para-educator
  5. Wildwood Vince Barnes Jr. PE teacher
  6. Wildwood Sarah Bing-Owen 5th grade teacher
  7. Wildwood Yaldira Brown assistant principal
  8. Wildwood Jacob Brownell music teacher
  9. Wildwood Keith Burgoyne 5th grade teacher
  10. Wildwood Carie Burke kitchen manager
  11. Wildwood Jaimie Bust 6th grade teacher
  12. Wildwood Grethe Camp special education teacher
  13. Wildwood Nikia Camp ILC para-sub
  14. Wildwood Molly Carlisle para-educator
  15. Wildwood Robert Castellano Instrumental Music Teacher
  16. Wildwood Therese Chehade English as a Second Language Teacher
  17. Wildwood Beth Chesworth intervention teacher
  18. Wildwood Marlee Chham kitchen
  19. Wildwood Carol Cochrane physical therapist (at Wildwood and Crocker Farm)
  20. Wildwood Laura Cohen para-educator
  21. Wildwood Sally Crawford school adjustment counselor
  22. Wildwood Sheila Dickinson ILC para-educator
  23. Wildwood Nancy Dilmann Kitchen
  24. Wildwood Chris Eggemeier 6th grade teacher
  25. Wildwood Liz Elder 5th grade teacher
  26. Wildwood Maris Fabozzi teacher of the deaf
  27. Wildwood Temisocles Ferreira translator
  28. Wildwood Mary Fournier 3rd grade teacher
  29. Wildwood Lisa Fretwell special education secretary
  30. Wildwood Joyce Gooden administrative secretary
  31. Wildwood Rachel Hickman para-educator
  32. Wildwood Sara Hickman 6th grade special education teacher
  33. Wildwood Jahmai Hill para-educator
  34. Wildwood Carolyn Holmes ILC para-educator
  35. Wildwood Matt Jones intern
  36. Wildwood Grace Keane intern
  37. Wildwood Rory Keough school psychologist
  38. Wildwood Nor Khattab interpretor
  39. Wildwood Sara Kinsman para-educator
  40. Wildwood Rebecca D. Klaus ELL teacher
  41. Wildwood Seiha Kruoch ELL paraeducator
  42. Wildwood Naihsin Kuo guidance counselor
  43. Wildwood Alan Kuusisto 4th grade teacher
  44. Wildwood Kathryn LaFond band teacher
  45. Wildwood Marta Lev ELL
  46. Wildwood Wanoika Magua para-educator
  47. Wildwood Georgia Malcolm secretary
  48. Wildwood Jennifer McIntire program coordinator
  49. Wildwood Susanne Michel reading ticher
  50. Wildwood Rhonda Morrison school psychologist
  51. Wildwood Catherine Moss 4th grade special education teacher
  52. Wildwood Victoria Munroe 1st grade techer
  53. Wildwood Heather O’Mara Orchestra teacher
  54. Wildwood Ivy Olcott Para-educator
  55. Wildwood Kristen Oulette ILC
  56. Wildwood Chris Owen 3rd grade teacher
  57. Wildwood Mario Perez 4th grade teacher
  58. Wildwood Courtney Platt special education teacher
  59. Wildwood Heather Poirier secretary
  60. Wildwood Elizabeth Pretel match coach
  61. Wildwood Julie Rivera art teacher
  62. Wildwood James Robinson nurse
  63. Wildwood Kristen Roeder 6th grade teacher
  64. Wildwood Kathryn Runyan technology teacher
  65. Wildwood Joe Russavage custodian
  66. Wildwood Maggie Ryan intern
  67. Wildwood Menekse Sakirt translator
  68. Wildwood Susie Secco 1st grade teacher
  69. Wildwood Meaghan Shea ILC para-educator
  70. Wildwood Gina Simm 1st grade teacher
  71. Wildwood Christa Smith speech and language teacher
  72. Wildwood Phila Son para-educator
  73. Wildwood Soleil Sonoda 5th grade special education teacher
  74. Wildwood Ted Soulos intervention teacher
  75. Wildwood Elaine Stinson 4th grade teacher
  76. Wildwood Kira Thomas 3rd grade teacher
  77. Wildwood Betsy Todd special education teacher
  78. Wildwood Jennifer Valera behavioral specialist
  79. Wildwood Monique WIlliams para-educator
  80. Wildwood Sherril Willis intervention teacher
  81. Wildwood Gioia Woods 4th grade tacher
  82. Wildwood Kristen Worgess occupational therapist
  83. Wildwood Nick Yaffe principal
  84. Fort River Carissa Ackroyd 5th grade teacher
  85. Fort River Eric Alexander
  86. Fort River Omar Almodovar 5th grade teacher
  87. Fort River Miguel Aquino mental health team
  88. Fort River Timothy Austin 6th grade teacher
  89. Fort River Victoria Aveni 2nd grade teacher
  90. Fort River Donna Baker
  91. Fort River Pamela Barsalou reading teacher
  92. Fort River Karen Bonneau Administrative Secretary
  93. Fort River Catherine Cambell
  94. Fort River Diane Chamberlain Principal
  95. Fort River Jonathan Chavez para-educator
  96. Fort River Melanie Collins behavioral program teacher
  97. Fort River Molly Cooksey
  98. Fort River Jane Costello ELL teacher
  99. Fort River Karen Dematteo 2nd grade teacher/SPED teacher
  100. Fort River Betsy Dinger SPED teacher
  101. Fort River Carrie Doggett 5th grade teacher
  102. Fort River Karen Duplissie OT
  103. Fort River Tesia Elani para-educator
  104. Fort River Ana Encarnacion-Mullen counselor
  105. Fort River Deb Felix Kindergarten Teacher
  106. Fort River John Foster para-educator
  107. Fort River Anne Gage library para-educator
  108. Fort River Vera Goodwin-Brown 4th grade teacher
  109. Fort River Kelly Gowan teacher
  110. Fort River Kristine Griswold asst. principal
  111. Fort River Laurie Hickson 1st grade teacher
  112. Fort River Andrew Jamieson
  113. Fort River Kaileigh Kaizer PE teacher
  114. Fort River John Keins 4th grade teacher
  115. Fort River Brian Kline 5th grade teacher/SPED
  116. Fort River Trish Lagrant 1st grade teacher/SPED
  117. Fort River Stephen Lott 3rd grade teacher
  118. Fort River Frances Ludington library media specialist
  119. Fort River Kristen Lynch para-educator
  120. Fort River Brian Mackey para-educator
  121. Fort River Emily McClung speech/language teacher
  122. Fort River Susan Mooring 3rd grade teacher/SPED
  123. Fort River Camela Moskin para-educator
  124. Fort River Linda Petrides
  125. Fort River Amy Pilger speech/language teacher
  126. Fort River Q. Raines custodian
  127. Fort River Ashley Robitaille para-educator
  128. Fort River Krista Rondeau 1st grade teacher
  129. Fort River Jessica Rudnik psychologist
  130. Fort River Rachmana Santorelli reading teacher
  131. Fort River Deb Sawicki 6th grade teacher
  132. Fort River Patricia Schumm psychologist
  133. Fort River Jonathan Severance 4th grade teacher
  134. Fort River Suzanne Severin Secretary
  135. Fort River Ann Shea Kindergarten teacher
  136. Fort River Timothy Sheehan 4th grade teacher
  137. Fort River Nicole Singer art teacher
  138. Fort River Zoe Steinberg
  139. Fort River Linda Stenlund nurse
  140. Fort River Tammy Sullivan-Daley 6th grade teacher/SPED
  141. Fort River Phoebe Taffel 3rd grade teacher
  142. Fort River Trevor Takayama technology teacher
  143. Fort River Thyda Ty Kindergarten teacher
  144. Fort River Marie Webber reading teacher
  145. Fort River Victoria Weed ELL teacher
  146. Fort River Nicole Wells para-educator
  147. Fort River Gail Whitlock para-educator