ORR district agreement changes to miss Marion, Rochester Town Meeting

Apr 21, 2021

Marion and Rochester residents won’t find recent changes approved by the Old Rochester Regional School Committee on the warrants for the upcoming May Town Meetings this year.

A string of amendments to the agreement governing school district procedures and municipal collaborations was unanimously approved at an ORR School Committee meeting on April 13. They were the first revisions to the agreement since 1986, according to Superintendent Michael Nelson, despite state recommendations to review the document every five years.

But the changes weren’t approved by the state Department of Education by the time Marion sent its Town Meeting warrant to print, and Selectmen in Rochester said they’d like more time to review the regional agreement before it’s voted on by residents.

“We don’t have time to review it,” Rochester Selectman Brad Morse said at an April 20 meeting, adding that he figured other towns wouldn’t have the time, either.

“It’s an important agreement,” Rochester Selectman Woody Hartley said. “And we just don’t have the time.”

While the agreement won’t make it to Marion’s Town Meeting, the town’s Selectmen voted on April 20 to share counsel with Mattapoisett in order to review the regional agreement.

The two towns will use KP Law, a public sector law firm from Boston, to review the agreement.

Both Marion and Rochester officials anticipate the agreement being present at the fall town meeting.

Alongside the regional agreement, Rochester Selectmen also shot down an ORR stabilization fund item for Town Meeting on April 20.

“The second one’s the one I want to know more about how that’s going to be funded,” Hartley said.

On school-related Town Meeting topics, Hartley said it’s important the Selectmen and the Tri-Town work together.

“It is right that we talk about this amongst the three of us and amongst the three towns,” he said.