Push begins for a third vote on elementary school merger in Amherst

A "yes" vote would approve the state to fund half of the $67 million project.

AMHERST, Mass. (WWLP) – One man is petitioning for an Amherst town meeting to vote for a third time to approve funding a town project that merges two elementary schools. The proposal to merge Fort River and Wildwood elementary schools has failed at Town Meetings twice.

Kevin Collins, who is a member of the Town Meeting, is hoping the third time will be the charm. He’s created a petition that needs 200 signatures by March 31st to hold a third town meeting on this proposed merge. A “yes” vote would approve the state to fund half of the $67 million project.

Neither school complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act and Collins says a merge is the best, and cheapest, option to fix the problems. “It’s going to cost Amherst taxpayers an additional $12 million to $40 million dollars. The override that they just voted will double from a 5 percent tax increase to 10 percent.”

Amherst Public Schools Superintendent Michael Morris told 22News that the rejection at Monday’s town meeting means the proposal is dead. 22News called Amherst Town Manager Paul Bockelman several times on Thursday to clarify if a third town vote is even possible, but have not gotten a response.

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