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LUDLOW — Ludlow High School athletics will host a joint ice hockey team with Belchertown High School for the coming hockey season following approval from the School Committee at its May 14 meeting.

Athletic Director Tim Brillo brought the proposal to the committee, stating that the team was only expecting 12 members to return in the next season. As a result, this would place the team below the 15-member recommendation and make competitions much more challenging. Belchertown is expecting nine members on its hockey team, he stated.

With the two-year co-op agreement, Ludlow athletics would retain its staff and function as the host town for the hockey team, Brillo said. Practices would continue to take place at Olympia Ice Center in West Springfield. Following the two years, the co-op would be reevaluated. At this time, Brillo stated that he hoped the Ludlow team would be able to resume its individual town approach.

When asked about why the team is anticipating to fall below the minimum, Brillo explained that seven seniors will graduate this year.

Additionally, Brillo stated that Belchertown High School is looking to create a co-op for girls ice hockey and has asked Ludlow to join. However, this process is still ongoing, he said.

“In Western Mass., there’s two co-ops right now, one from Longmeadow and one at Pope Francis [Preparatory School] and so, they’re look to branch off and start a third and they’ve asked us to join that so that’s something we can look forward to down the road when it comes around,” Brillo explained.
The hockey team co-op proposal passed unanimously.

Increasing size of the School Committee

On May 14, the Ludlow School Committee also discussed a recent decision by the Charter Committee to add the Town Council president to the committee as a voting member. The Charter Committee is currently working to update the town charter to change the Board of Selectmen that currently represents the town into a Town Council in addition to other updates to the charter. Adding a member from the potential Town Council would also require an additional member to be added in order for the committee’s member count to remain an odd number for voting, Chair Sarah Bowler explained. This would bring the committee to seven members.

According to the Charter Committee, this preliminary vote was taken at its April 18 meeting and was designed to create a more unified relationship between the two bodies.

The decision to increase the School Committee to six members with the Town Council president as the seventh member was voted over reducing the committee to four members with the Town Council president as the fifth.

If the proposal is approved, the Town Council member would first need to be elected by residents to the Town Council body and appointed president by Town Council members before being appointed to the School Committee, Charter Committee member Martin Fanning stated at the May 2 meeting. The Town Council member would not hold the chair, vice chair or clerk position within the School Committee.

This decision by the Charter Committee was supported by the Edward J. Collins, Jr. Center for Public Management, Fanning said.

While School Committee members expressed concerns about the Town Council president’s potential status as a voting member, multiple members agreed that increasing communication and coopertation between the bodies was important.

Following discussion, Bowler stated that she would reach out to the Charter Committee about the possibility of scheduling a joint meeting, per the School Committee’s request.

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