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The Adams-Cheshire Regional School Committee voted to adopt the new agreement that must now go before the two towns' town meetings.

Adams-Cheshire Committee Approves Amended Agreement

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
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CHESHIRE, Mass. — The Adams-Cheshire Regional School District unanimously approved a new regional agreement and a new name. 
 
The School Committee unanimously voted Monday to adopt the new agreement that not only lays out changes in the two towns' relationship but would also change the district's name to the Hoosac Valley Regional School District.
 
"Well congratulations and we will continue going down the line and get this approved," Stephen Hemman, the assistant director of the Massachusetts Association of Regional Schools, said.
 
The Regional Agreement Amendment Committee, or RAAC, formed late last year to update the antiquated agreement between the two towns. A subcommittee was formed with members from both Adams and Cheshire and MARS was hired to facilitate the amendment process.
 
Three votes were taken to approve the agreement. The first was to approve the document, the second was to request special legislation that would allow the School Committee to maintain its election schedule, and the third was to send articles to both towns for town meeting.
 
Hemman said the district's legal counsel has reviewed the agreement as well as the counsels of Adams and Cheshire.
 
He added that the state Department of Education also signed off on it.
 
"We are in good shape with that," he said. 
 
Much of the alterations were simply language changes that aligned the agreement with state and federal standards but there were more substantial modifications in adding a stipulation to certain votes such as closing a school or hiring a superintendent. Instead of needing a straight majority, these votes would need an affirmative vote from both an Adams and Cheshire committee member.
 
This change was initiated after the closure of the Cheshire Elementary School. The School Committee vote was along town lines that created a rift between the two towns and prompted the RAAC's creation.
 
The decision to adopt the name of the joint high school, Hoosac Valley, is seen as a way to help mend old wounds and create a more unified school culture. C.T. Plunkett School in Adams, which survived the school closure vote, was renamed Hoosac Valley Elementary to begin that process. 
 
The amendment also solidifies historical practices within the district and School Committee as well as outlines how a community would join or leave the district.
 
The amendment also includes language that would prompt reviews of the agreement every 10 years.
 
The amended agreement is not yet on the books and both Adams and Cheshire town meetings need to accept it.
 
Hemman urged the district to meet with the selectmen and finance committees in both communities to review the changes.
 
He added that it would also be a benefit to hold public meetings so residents are familiar with what they are voting on.
 
"You want to make sure when you go to town meeting people have seen it and they are not looking at it for the first time," he said.

Tags: ACRSD,   regional agreement,   

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Adams Cemetery Commission Appoints Caretakers

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
ADAMS, Mass. — The Cemetery Commission appointed two residents to take care of two historic cemeteries.
 
The commission last week appointed residents Allen Mendel and Johanna Maxwell as the caretakers of Daniels Court Cemetery and Bowens Corner Cemetery. 
 
"It is an extension of a back yard," Commissioner Bruce Shepely said about Bowens Corner Cemetery. "It has historical implications that go back to the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812. The latest burial is 1865."
 
The previous caretaker of Bowens Corner Cemetery can no longer maintain the East Road graveyard and abuttor Maxwell contacted the commission and said she would be interested.
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