Cheshire voters on Monday agreed to fund the regional school budget, ending months of mounting anxieties over the consequences of not having a school budget in place.
The second time was the charm at Monday's special town meeting scheduled solely to vote on the town's $3.1 million assessment to the Adams-Cheshire Regional School District.
The Selectmen approved a special town meeting warrant on Tuesday with a single article on which hangs the fate of the $19.2 million Adams-Cheshire Regional School District budget.
Town Administrator Mark Webber said he crafted the warrant article that will give the town another chance on July 17 to pass its regional assessment of $2.7 million for fiscal 2018.
The Adams Cheshire Regional School Committee will resubmit the same $19.2 million budget that was rejected by Cheshire town meeting last week.
The School Committee unanimously agreed Tuesday to support the original fiscal 2018 budget because members felt it presented the best educational outcomes and was the best option.
The Selectmen have tentatively scheduled a special town meeting on Monday, July 17, to try again to pass the Adams-Cheshire Regional School District budget.
Officials met with School committee Chairman Paul Butler on Tuesday night to figure out the next steps in the budget process and with coming deadlines, both they and Butler agreed it would be prudent to have a budget in place sooner than later.
Town meeting rejected the Adams-Cheshire Regional School District's $19.2 million budget and shot down articles aimed at keeping Cheshire Elementary School open.
More than 200 voters filled the school's auditorium Monday night for a 3 1/2 marathon town meeting mostly focused on the school and the regional school budget.
Although both the Adams-Cheshire Regional School Committee and town officials lament the closing of Cheshire Elementary School, they all agree that a budget must be passed.
The Selectmen on Tuesday agreed with Superintendent Robert Putnam and School Committee members Paul Butler and Adam Emerson that not passing the school and town budget out of protest would wreak havoc on both.
The Selectmen are baffled by the complexity of a series of town meeting articles that would have to clear multiple hurdles to amend the regional school district agreement.
The Cheshire Citizens for Education group has place articles by petition on both the Adams and Cheshire town meeting warrants aimed at keeping Cheshire School open and independently funded by the town.
A citizens' petition aimed to keep Cheshire Elementary School open could push out budgeting for the regional school district into the summer.
Jeffrey Grandchamp, the district's attorney, on Monday night explained the consequences of the proposed amendment to the district agreement that the Adams-Cheshire Regional School Committee is now required to relay to the towns.
The Adams-Cheshire Regional School Committee will seek legal counsel to see how and if Cheshire can amend the district agreement to allow the town to fund Cheshire Elementary School on its own for one year.
Cheshire Selectwoman Carol Francesconi on Monday asked the committee if it was possible for the town to increase its assessment and bypass the district agreement that would mandate a proportional increase to Adams.
School Committee members overcame weeks of dissension related to the closing of an elementary to finally approve a $19.2 million budget for fiscal 2018.
The Adams-Cheshire Regional School Committee first failed to close on a budget number already accepted by its larger partner Adams, splitting along town lines. It debated going higher or pursuing a "supplemental budget" that would allow Cheshire School to remain open but those efforts were dropped Monday night when it became apparent they were
School officials postponed a vote Monday on a proposed fiscal 2018 spending plan until next week, hoping to hammer out a compromise budget that the towns of Adams and Cheshire can agree to in the short-term.
The Finance Committee approved the entire $15.5 million budget but voted to not recommend the McCann assessment to the town that has increased 27 percent.
The Finance Committee had few concerns with the town side of the fiscal year 2018 budget Thursday but refused to recommend the McCann budget with a 10 to 1 vote, even though the selectmen approved it with a 3-1 vote.
The Adams-Cheshire Regional School Committee failed again to pass a budget and agreed to try again Monday.
Adams and Cheshire residents filled the Hoosac Valley Library Wednesday night for a two-hour meeting where the School Committee was unable to settle on a budget, bringing them closer to the April 30 deadline.
School officials arrived empty-handed to Tuesday's Finance Committee meeting because Adams-Cheshire Regional School Committee's spending plan for fiscal 2018 is up in the air.
The Finance Committee had penciled in the assessment for Adams based on a $19.2 million budget that should have been approved on Monday. Instead, the School Committee's three Cheshire representatives balked at a plan that would mean the closure of Cheshire Elementary School.
The Adams-Cheshire Regional School Committee failed to pass its $19.2 million budget Monday night and may pass the buck to the towns.
The budget failed to get the five votes needed for passage, with the four Adams representives voting for and the three Cheshire representatives voting nay after an at-times heated two-hour long meeting at Hoosac Valley High School.
The Selectmen and Finance Committee heard from both Adams-Cheshire Regional School District and McCann Technical School on their fiscal 2108 spending plans and aired concerns about both budgets.
Wednesday was the third of four joint budget hearings held at the Adams Visitors Center. The two regional school budgets make 39 percent of the town's proposed $15.5 million the fiscal 2018 budget.
The Adams-Cheshire Regional School Committee delayed its budget vote until Monday, March 27, to determine if more positions needed to be included.
The date puts the vote before required 45 days prior to town meeting. Committee members felt this allowed the opportunity to form a budget that may include positions originally cut.
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.
Without overrides, the Adams-Cheshire Regional School District cannot keep both its elementary schools open or hire all of the recently recommended positions to make its schools better.
Adams Town Administrator Tony Mazzucco said that unless the town goes for a Proposition 2 1/2 override, the very most Adams can contribute is a 3 percent increase.
The School Committee's Audit and Evaluation subcommittee on Thursday found that between closing an elementary school, negotiating health insurance and other recommendations the district needs to find more than $500,000 to reach that figure.
The Adams-Cheshire Regional School District is looking at a $370,000 gap going into fiscal 2018, with the likelihood of adding another $130,000 on top of that because of required hirings.
Interim Superintendent Robert Putnam told the School Committee on Monday that he feels there isn't much that can be cut without reducing services.
Initial findings of the Adams-Cheshire Regional School District study are clear: Something has to change.
The University of Massachusetts' Edward J. Collins Jr. Center for Public Management was commissioned to study the state of the school district and supply recommendations for its future.
The town plans to put the Sand Mill Road Bridge repair project out to bid after the Conservation Commission's final review on Nov. 4.
Town Administrator Mark Webber said last week that the plans are almost bid ready and the board must decide if it wants to put out the project out to bid this fall or in the spring.
School officials are continuing to whittle away at the $19 million spending plan for fiscal 2017. The budget already reflects more than a dozen staffing cuts and is coming in some $110,000 under this year.
The Audit and Evaluation Committee is hoping to find more savings that can translate into retaining teachers.