Shelburne voters to consider Mohawk Trail school district assessment formula change

By BELLA LEVAVI

Staff Writer

Published: 10-09-2023 1:38 PM

SHELBURNE — The town will host a four-article Special Town Meeting on Wednesday to discuss amendments to the Mohawk Trail Regional School District’s regional agreement.

The meeting will start at 6:30 p.m. at Shelburne Town Hall, located at 51 Bridge St.

Amending the regional agreement would revise the funding formula for town assessments. Town assessments are currently calculated by counting the number of students enrolled on a five-year rolling average in the Mohawk Trail Regional School District. This is called “complete enrollment.” Depending on the ratio of students enrolled over that five-year period, each town pays its portion of the school budget.

Should the town assessment formula be revised, it would better align with the state’s funding formula by factoring in School Choice students and residents who opt to attend a charter school, called “foundation enrollment.”

The changes would come incrementally, with the assessment changing over the course of five years. Because the budget is calculated using a five-year rolling average, it would take the budget five years to adjust to the new policy.

The proposed amendments came to all eight member towns less than a month before some of the towns had their Annual Town Meetings in the spring, leading some towns to vote down the proposed changes due to the short amount of time given to review them.

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To date, all but three towns — Shelburne, Heath and Plainfield — have approved the changes, so the school district is circling back to the last three towns to request they revote on the revised agreement during Special Town Meetings. All eight member towns must approve these changes for a revised regional agreement to take effect.

“Because there was such a quick introduction to this before it was brought to Town Meeting, it was voted down.” Selectboard Chair Robert Manners said. “Since then, we had the ability to learn more about it and talk it over. We now have a better understanding going into this vote.”

The first article on Wednesday’s warrant, relating to the purchase of the town’s streetlights from Eversource, will be passed over. At a recent Selectboard meeting, members decided to bring the question of acquiring the streetlights to Annual Town Meeting instead.

Reach Bella Levavi at 413-930-4579 or blevavi@recorder.com.