Urgency of the school project

Published: 6/17/2021 4:13:19 PM

Sharing a little field note from Fort River Elementary School to remind Amherst voters of the urgency of the school project.

Last week while dropping my kids off, I overhead Principal Chamberlain’s staff announcement over the PA. (Paraphrasing) “The building’s chiller has broken and facilities staff will be swarming around the building all day working to identify the problem and diagnose a fix. Also, multiple classes will be taking MCAS tests today.”

Parents were later informed by email that school may be canceled if a rented chiller could not be installed over the weekend.

Distractions in the classroom, missed school days — this announcement demonstrated once again how our existing buildings interfere with student achievement.

The Wildwood Elementary School building has similar problems.

The next step we need to take to get Amherst’s youngest learners into new and modern buildings is approving the move of sixth grade to the middle school building. This adjustment will help unlock state matching funds for a new school building. It’s the next step our community must take if we aim to replace these two inefficient, dated, fundamentally flawed, failing buildings with an efficient modern one.

If we don’t act, we’ll all live with principal announcements like the one I overheard for a long, long time.

Johanna E. Neumann


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