Amherst school merger proposal rejected again

The town would have paid for half of the $67M, while the state paid the rest

Artist's rendering of the proposed new elementary school in Amherst.

AMHERST, Mass. (WWLP) – For the second time, Amherst Town Meeting members rejected the merger of two elementary schools in town. The “Yes” votes were in the majority, but the majority just wasn’t big enough.

Last November, residents voted to build a new school to replace and merge the Wildwood Elementary School and Fort River Elementary School. The plan later failed at a town meeting, but after hundreds of signatures were collected in support of the project, a second vote was held Monday night.

The members needed a two-thirds majority to approve the $67-million needed to merge the two elementary schools. The 57% majority fell short of the needed 66%. That means the school will have to re-apply for funding, but it’s not known how long that will take.

Superintendent Michael Morris told 22News, “No one can know, it won’t be immediate. They get many applications, they accept 10% to 15% of them a year, so there’s really no telling how long.”

Monday night’s failure is a real problem for the town. The current elementary schools do not comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act Standards. They have water leaks and mold.

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