Hampden filing lawsuit to prevent school closure

Some residents upset over plan to move students from Thornton W. Burgess Middle School

HAMPDEN, Mass. (WWLP) – Hampden residents are looking to prevent the merger of two schools.

The towns of Hampden and Wilbraham originally began considering merging the Wilbraham Middle School with the Thornton W. Burgess Middle School in Hampden back in 2015, due to declining enrollment at both schools. However, the following year, Hampden voters struck down a proposal that would allow students to cross town lines and attend Wilbraham Middle School.

Now, the town of Hampden is preparing to file a lawsuit against the Hampden-Wilbraham Regional School District to stop a reorganization plan that was approved in 2017. The first steps in the plan would close TWB, and potentially convert the Green Meadows School in Hampden (which currently only includes elementary grades) into a K-8 school, while also allowing Hampden students to transfer to Wilbraham Middle School.

Residents of Hampden have complained about the impact of the plan, saying that it would cut staff and programming, and take away from the small-town feel of their community.