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UMass Amherst and Town of Amherst agree on education funding

AMHERST, Mass. – Officials from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and the Town of Amherst have reached an agreement that addresses the cost educating K-12 students who live in tax-exempt housing in Amherst. The agreement is one aspect of a broad, multi-year Strategic Partnership Agreement, which is still being negotiated.

The University will provide approximately $185,000 per year for three years, starting in the current fiscal year, to support the schools. The funding addresses the financial impact of K-12 students who live in tax-exempt housing on campus and attend Amherst schools. The University and the Town of Amherst, with direct involvement of the Amherst schools, reached the agreement following an independent study conducted by the Donahue Institute, which explored different funding formulas.

Nancy Buffone, associate vice chancellor for University Relations, says this agreement is an important step in updating the town-gown agreement. “Schools play a vital role in our community and reflect our shared values and a strong commitment to the power of education. The interests of the University and the Town are woven together in many ways but perhaps nowhere as tightly as they are in support for excellent schools,” Buffone said.

Paul Bockelman, Amherst’s town manager, said, “This contribution is an important statement by the University that shows its financial support for Amherst public schools. We look forward to continuing our discussions with the University as we work toward a Strategic Partnership Agreement that addresses the many important relationships between the Town and the University.

Mike Morris, superintendent of schools, said, “UMass and the Amherst Public Schools have enjoyed a partnership for many years, particularly with the College of Education, that has been tremendously beneficial to both institutions. I am so pleased that the Town and UMass have reached a financial resolution that will enhance that partnership even further by supporting vital classes and programs for our students.  We look forward to continuing our strong relationship.”

Eric Nakajima, chair of the Amherst-Pelham Regional School Committee, added, “As chair of the Amherst-Pelham Regional School Committee, I am mindful of the elementary and secondary students we serve whose families are part of the UMass community and am grateful for the additional funding the schools will receive through the financial agreement reached by UMass and the Town of Amherst.  I believe that the very unique and important relationship between UMass and the Town has been made even stronger by the agreement they have forged.”