The official name of the elementary school may have changed, but the markers designating it as C.T. Plunkett School will remain in place.
School officials say they have no intention of erasing Plunkett's history from the school. Rather, the name was changed to Hoosac Valley Elementary as a way to unify the regional school district with the closure of Cheshire School.
C.T. Plunkett School has a new, although familiar name: Hoosac Valley Elementary
The name change is part of a bid to bring some unity to the two towns of the Adams-Cheshire Regional School District that have been riven by discord in the wake of the closure of Cheshire Elementary School. The shared high school has the same name, the designation for the river valley within which the two towns sit.
The Adams-Cheshire Regional School District's administrative team has reorganized and is ready to move forward with the new school configuration.
Superintendent Robert Putnam told the School Committee on Monday that the team has been working diligently over the past school year reforming the district to better serve the needs of the district.
The schools' elementary music teacher, Jonathan Rowe, planned the folk dance nights with unification between Adams and Cheshire residents in mind. He hopes that people can experience how music transcends cultural or town boundaries to foster and develop a sense of community.
The Finance Committee rejected the citizen's petition article to amend the ACRSD agreement and allow Cheshire to independently fund their elementary school.
"We usually donít vote on citizenís petitions and we just send them through but this one will have a major impact," Finance Committee member Jeffrey Lefebvre said. "I think we should give a sense of direction on what our feeling is."
The town will vote to make an emergency amendment to the Adams-Cheshire Regional School District agreement that may allow it to alone fund Cheshire Elementary School for a year.
Resident Jeremy McLain told the Selectmen on Tuesday that his group has a petition with more than 250 signatures asking the town's state representatives to find emergency funds to keep to school open. However, the Selectmen are putting an article on the annual town meeting just in case the state does not come through.
With lingering uncertainty over the school district's budget and whether Cheshire Elementary School will actually close, the selectmen had questions about what to do next.
Selectman Robert Ciskowski provided Town Administrator Mark Webber with a list of thoughts and questions Tuesday about what the town may have to do if Cheshire Elementary School closes.
Cheshire residents are exploring ways to keep their elementary school open even as the regional district prepares to relocate its students to other schools.
More than 150 parents and community members attended a public forum moderated by the Board of Selectmen on Wednesday night to hash out possibilities to keep the school running or resurrect it later.
Nearly 20 people, mostly from Cheshire aired their concerns at Monday's Adams-Cheshire Reigonal School Committee meeting during public comment. They felt closing Cheshire worked counterintuitively to the committee's goal to increase programming and resources in the classroom.
The Adams-Cheshire Regional School Committee voted 4-3 to close Cheshire Elementary School on Thursday night, splitting along town lines.
The anticipated vote came after a nearly two hour meeting at Hoosac Valley High School and was one of five taken to reconfigure the regional school district, including moving Grades 4 and 5 up to Hoosac Valley.
The fate of Adams-Cheshire Regional's two elementary was put for another week after the School Committee bowed to pressure to review other options.
School officials had been expected to decide whether to close C.T. Plunkett or Cheshire Elementary on Thursday night and a subdued crowd partially filled the Hoosac Valley High School auditorium, bracing for the final vote.
Emotions may be getting the better of residents as the Adams-Cheshire Regional School District weighs the closing of an elementary school.
But it's no reason to be rude, say Selectmen Jeffrey Snoonian and Joseph Nowak, who blasted the behavior of Cheshire residents at a public forum earlier this week.
Adams-Cheshire Regional School Committee is expected to decide whether to close one of its elementary schools on Thursday night.
Superintendent Robert Putnam says the decision comes down to space versus finances.
When the Audit and Evaluation subcommittee asked for his judgment Monday, Putnam said C.T. Plunkett in Adams offers a better space while Cheshire offers the opportunity for more staff and programming through increased transpiration reimbursement.
The Adams-Cheshire Regional School District began floating the idea more than a year ago but the fact that a painful decision would have to be made became apparent this past fall. The process has moved faster than many probably expected, with the decision expected this week ahead of the fiscal 2018 budget.
The auditorium at Cheshire Elementary was packed on Monday night for the second of two public forums scheduled by the Adams-Cheshire Regional School Committee to gather public input to help inform their decision on which school to close. It was far cry from last week in Adams, when only handful attended the first meeting.
Adams officials spoke out forcefully on Thursday against the idea of closing C.T. Plunkett School, saying the struggling community simply could not take the hit.
Selectmen Chairman Jeffrey Snoonian said closing Plunkett would be a bigger shock to Adams than the loss of a school would be to Cheshire. George Haddad, local businessman and former selectman, said it would "hasten the fall of the community."
The potential closure of an elementary school has had officials in Adams and Cheshire mulling the possibility of breaking up the Adams-Cheshire Regional School District.
But the options for changing the 50-year-old agreement or dissolving it all appear cumbersome and financially ineffective.
The Selectmen are wondering about cost sharing between Cheshire and Adams with the expected closing of an elementary school.
Of major concern is the town's responsibility for repairs to C.T. Plunkett School in Adams if Cheshire School should close.
Cheshire and Adams have long been tied together by history and familial bonds. For the last 50 years, that's been strengthened through a shared educational system. But dropping enrollment and the school district's struggle in the last years with ballooning budgets, has the two towns at odds over whose elementary school will close.
With the district pondering the likelihood of closing one of the schools, their condition, size and maintenance costs are expected to influence the debate. The guided tours also provided a chance for administrators to lay out the class configurations that will be part of the conversation.
Nearly 50 years ago, the two communities came together to form one regional school district. That district has endured changes in the demographics of the community, changes in the national and state economies, and changes within the education system itself. And yet, through all of this change, Adams and Cheshire have always rallied around the schools. Change has, as it so often does, bred adaption and innovation.
The Selectmen at Tuesday's meeting said they do not have high hopes that the School Committee will choose to keep the school open because the majority of the members are from Adams.
Selectman Robert Ciskowski said losing the school would be a huge hit to the town and would upset much of the planning they had set down for the future.