Ludlow area residents plan for merger ‘No’ vote and its aftermath

By Shawn Cunningham
© 2017 Telegraph Publishing LLC

More than 40 people got together Thursday night to plan their opposition to the closing of Black River High School and the merger of the Ludlow and Mount Holly schools with the Mill River Unified Union School District in Clarendon. They also worked on ideas for what to do with BRHS if they succeed in  quashing the plan.

Ludlow’s BRAIN innovations group prepares to report back to the whole organization. Photo by Shawn Cunningham

Calling themselves the Black River Area Innovation Network — or BRAIN — the merger opponents broke into three groups that looked at ways to support legislation that might extend the timetable for mergers under Act 46, crafted their outreach message and strategy and brainstormed on themes of “efficiencies” and “innovation” that would be needed to keep the schools viable to serve the needs of the students and the community.

Attendees agreed that there is a lot of confusion around the process and that they need to give the voters clear and accurate information when they go to the polls on Tuesday, May 30.

To underscore the sense of confusion, one member said that the impression among many residents in the Mill River district is that the Black River building is falling down and that people in Ludlow just want to close it and send their students to the Clarendon high school.

After a little more than an hour of the breakout, the groups came back together to report on their progress.

The legislative group returned with a letter to lawmakers that members could send over their own names. The outreach group was preparing to man a table to give out information at the Ludlow Rotary Penny Sale, held Saturday, and an overall message of not focusing on the closing of the high school building, but concentrating on looking for every opportunity to educate local students within their community was suggested.

The third group filled sheet upon sheet of easel paper with ideas and in the end agreed that long lists might be overwhelming and counterproductive and that they should condense that into a smaller list and maybe take it in phases.

The next BRAIN meeting will be held on Tuesday, May 2 at 6 p.m. at the Ludlow Community Center at 37 Main St.

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About the Author: Shawn Cunningham has written a number of subjects -- from food and wine to film, history, politics, zoning and development -- for the Baltimore Sun, the Washington Post, Museum News, The Westsider, The Chelsea/Clinton News, Menckeniana, Films in Review and the East Village Eye.

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