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Is Amherst’s school system really racist?

Does Amherst, one of the most progressive communities in Massachusetts, have a public school system that is racially biased? I ask this question as the white father of children who were in the system for 19 years (1985-04) and as the newspaper reporter covering the Amherst schools for five years (2008-13). The question arose after Superintendent Mike Morris declined to hire two finalists for the Regional Middle School principal position, who were people of color recommended by a search committee, and instead asked the white interim principal to stay on next year while a new search takes place. As the …

4

Limits to campaign donations: good idea but bad timing

Imposing a limit on contributions to candidates is an appealing idea. We don’t want our new Town Council to be as corrupted by money as the U.S. Congress is. But I think the Select Board should heed the advice of the Town’s attorneys and reject calls for a special Town Meeting to establish limits on donations before the Town Council is seated. Meg Gage served on the Charter Commission with me and opposed the recommendations that were overwhelmingly approved by voters on March 27. She is organizing a petition drive to call a special Town Meeting to limit individual contributions …

1

Two bipartisan charter events coming up

In the next 10 days, there will be two public events at which both sides of the charter campaign can come together and talk about the future of our town. Each event has been organized by two members of the Charter Commission, on opposite sides, in a spirit of bipartisanship. Gerry Weiss and I have been involved in planning a community dialogue at the Jones Library next Wednesday at 7:15 p.m. And on June 12, Meg Gage and Tom Fricke will lead a discussion of the fine points of the new charter at 7 p.m. in the Bangs Community Center. …