Moving Forward: Statement by SASS, Tuesday November 15

Comment submitted by SASS at the School Committee meeting, November 15, 2016.

November 15, 2016

Dear School Committee, Acting Superintendent Morris, and Amherst community,

We at Save Amherst’s Small Schools (SASS) want to recognize all the hard work and passion that people on both sides of the recent proposal contributed to our schools. We look forward to working together, with our neighbors, on our community schools. We urge immediate action on the following three points of concern:

  1. Public dissemination of existing air quality testing and remediation efforts at Fort River and Wildwood, up-to-date testing, and immediate efforts to improve air quality by using programs such as the EPA’s “Tools for Schools” Indoor Air Quality toolkit and the MSBA’s “accelerated repair” program.
  2. Begin the process of inclusionary planning by surveying the community at large and especially teachers and staff about their values, concerns, and ideas. This survey should be developed in an open fashion by a third party with input from teachers and parents, and should be broadly disseminated.
  3. Work with SASS and other key constituencies — for instance, the teacher’s union, the School Equity Task Force, SEPAC, SASS, BOLD, the PGOs, and others — to reconstitute a School Building Committee that is truly open. We will help disseminate an open call THIS WEEK and begin taking volunteers.

We have already begun gathering the names of parents, educators, and community members who would be interested in working in an open, creative process on a new “Educational Program” and “Statement of Interest” for the MSBA’s “Model Schools” program.

We recommend moving quickly toward submitting a new Statement of Interest before June 30, 2017, that has the participation and support of the community.

Regards,

The members of SASS

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