Following Failed Pentucket Regional School Override Vote, Both Sides to Pitch Ideas Wednesday Over WHAV

Construction at the new Pentucket Regional Middle/High School. (Courtesy photograph.)

With two out of the three towns recently voting against a tax override for Pentucket Regional School District, both sides outline their next steps during live interviews Wednesday morning over 97.9 WHAV.

Former Groveland Selectman Joseph D’Amore is scheduled to appear  on WHAV’s “Win for Breakfast” program around 8:15 followed by Pentucket School Superintendent Justin Bartholomew at 8:45. Both Groveland and Merrimac voters last week defeated what was called an “operational budget override” to pay for the district’s proposed $50 million spending plan. West Newbury has budgeted for the proposed increase.

D’Amore, who is also a former vice chairman of the Pentucket Regional School Committee, advocated against the override. On social media this week, he said, “There are enough monies in the regional district’s ‘E&D’ (Excess and Deficiency fund) to draw from to make up the balance of what is not covered by the Merrimac and Groveland assessments to fill the $1.34 million dollar gap.”

In support of the override request was Bartholomew. He told WHAV during a recent interview this was the district’s first Proposition 2 ½ override request in 10 years, and it mostly centered around transportation costs.

“We had to renegotiate our transportation contracts for both our regular buses and special education buses, and we did not get full funding for regional transportation, which we were supposed to get. So, those three items alone put us back $583,000,” Bartholomew said.

D’Amore and Bartholomew appear to agree that state’s formula for aiding regional school districts is unfair.

The Pentucket School Committee also meets this afternoon to discuss, what an official posting called, “anticipated cuts—including significant staff reductions and fee increases necessary to operate under the reduced budget in 2022-2023.”

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