Leverett balks at assessment formula for Amherst-Pelham Regional Schools

Staff Writer
Thursday, November 30, 2017

LEVERETT — Officials in Leverett will argue in favor of retaining a previous funding formula for the Amherst-Pelham Regional School District, or one that closely mimics it, when the four towns that make up region meet Saturday.

Unlike the Amherst Select Board, which last week endorsed a formula that uses the statutory minimum contribution calculated by the state, with the excess based on five-year rolling average of enrollment and a town’s median aggregate income, Leverett is encouraging an assessment method that would also use the statutory calculation as its base, but adds a different wealth factor and keeps a five-year rolling average of enrollment.

Leverett’s preferred method is known as Statutory 4, or S4. Leverett Select Board Chairman Peter d’Errico said Thursday that Leverett would rather keep the prior formula with the five-year rolling average, which used equalized valuations, but since that has been removed from consideration, it will support S4 instead.

“We selected S4 because it would create a formula that would not have to be revisited every year,” D’Errico said.

The formula is favorable to Leverett, with its assessment falling from $1.493 million to $1.34 million, a $150,739, or 10.1 percent drop. Under the method supported by Amherst, Levetett would see its assessment go up from $1.493 million to $1.498 million, a $5,186, or .35 percent increase.

The four towns must adopt the new formula unanimously for it to go into effect.

Shutesbury officials in 2015 asked to return to the statutory method for calculating assessments, which factors in both income and property values. This prompted the towns to approve a different method for determining assessments the past two years.

The meeting begins at 9 a.m. at the middle school library.