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School zone: Amherst School Committee to review per-pupil expenses

Next Tuesday’s Amherst School Committee meeting will include a report on per-pupil expenses.

Last June, the committee agreed to an independent study of state figures indicating that Amherst spends more per student than other towns. According to data for 2010-11, Amherst costs were $17,115 per elementary school student, slightly higher than Shutesbury ($15,612), Leverett ($15,382) and Pelham ($14,925). Amherst’s costs were much higher than local districts that calculate them based on kindergarten through 12th grade, such as Northampton ($12,501), Belchertown ($10,792) and Easthampton ($12,253). The Amherst regional district spends $18,329 per pupil.

Tuesday’s meeting will also include an update on the new after-school program, which is run in each school by the Leisure Services Department. The committee will also get an update on elementary enrollment and discuss guidelines for next year’s budget.

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LOADS OF TRASH: The Amherst Regional High School Environmental Action Club participated in a cleanup in the Connecticut River watershed on Sept. 29. Eleven members and adviser James Fownes picked up seven bags of trash and recycling weighing 167 pounds. The items included dirty diapers, an old suitcase, parts of a mattress, alcohol bottles, plastic bags and bits of Styrofoam.

TEEN ATTITUDES: The first in a series of programs for parents of teenagers is this Thursday, Oct. 11, at 7 p.m. in the ARHS library. It is called “What Our Kids Think We Think” and is about a survey of students’ attitudes. The next program will be Nov. 7 at 11:30 a.m., with author Paul Tough on what enables some students to succeed while others fail.

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PEACE PIX: Students in grades five through seven can submit posters depicting their visions of peace in an international contest sponsored locally by the Amherst Lions Club.

The deadline for entries is Nov. 15, and Wildwood art teacher Julie Rivera is coordinating the contest. Prizes will be awarded to entries from the three elementary schools and the Regional Middle School, with the first-prize posters going on to the district, state and international levels of the competition.

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AND...: There will be a celebration of Latino Heritage Month Monday from 6 to 8 p.m. at Fort River School, including a potluck. “If These Halls Could Talk,” a film about interminority racism on college campuses, will be shown Oct. 24 at 7 p.m. in the ARHS auditorium.

Send items for School Zone to ngrabbe@gazettenet.com.

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