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Daily Buzz | School Building Committee Begins to Lay Out Educational Program
Community members continue to voice concerns over a three-school model
Apologies for no Buzz yesterday! I had it almost completed before bed, and then woke up sick at 3am and couldn’t finish until now. Thankfully, I’m up close to 75% and back with the news!
The Elementary School Building Committee met on Tuesday to a room packed with community members hoping to participate.
The majority of the meeting was dedicated to outlining the broad strokes of the Educational Program, which is the first step toward submitting our project to the Massachusetts School Building Authority. This part of the process will be completed in just a few weeks; the Committee expects to vote on it on 6/26 (which is a Monday).
The purpose of writing up the Educational Program is really to outline how much space we would need—and of what kind—in each of the models the state is requiring us to investigate. Some broad takeaways:
Space will be allocated to all of the programs we currently have in place. This means people and programs who currently don’t have sufficient dedicated space—people like counselors and speech-language pathologists, who sometimes meet in converted closets or storage rooms—will have office and classroom space that better meets their needs and those of kids.
For the most part, we can’t take advantage of this process to add programs that would be nice to have but which we don’t currently support. Any plan the district puts forward should represent our current program of studies.
It’s rare for MSBA to deviate from their standard class size of 23 students. They were willing to do it in Burlington’s case because Burlington has been committed to supporting 18 students per class for years and that is a part of our current program (see above).
Knowing what kinds of spaces the school needs will guide the team in laying out the adjacencies—areas that should be located in close proximity to one another, creating the most efficient and effective school environment.
Knowing the requirements for what the district would like to have on the first floor will help lay out the footprint of the school and determine if a two- or three-story model would be most feasible.
This presentation took quite a while, and the Committee didn’t get to look at the matrix as planned. Instead they moved to public participation, where we heard from a number of residents. No one who spoke at the meeting was in favor of the three-school model, and community members cited a number of concerns.
Traffic and safety was the biggest concern. Residents of the area recounted stories of near-misses with cars and of parents having to physically step out in front of vehicles to provide safe passage for students, a phenomenon they feel would be exacerbated with more traffic flow through the area. Another parent voiced concerns of having a three-story building in the case of an emergency where 5-to-10-year-old kids need to make their way out.
The effect of a larger school on the surrounding neighborhood was also mentioned, with long-time residents sharing stories of how changes in the neighborhood over the years have brought negative impacts to residents and requesting thought be put into placement of the schools and parking lots on the land.
There were speakers from the Fox Hill, Pine Glen, and Francis Wyman schools and surrounding neighborhoods, but one Pine Glen parent did note that many parents she spoke with were unaware that the Fox Hill Building Committee decision could affect them (and that is likely the case for many parents throughout the district).
She urged the Committee to try different avenues to get the word to more community members. If you’ve got any ideas for how to engage more of our neighbors in this conversation, leave them in the comments or reply to this email!
Today in Burlington
Meetings and Events
Last day of classes for seniors!
10:30 AM - Fine Motor Fun for children ages 2-5 (library event; register)
6:00 PM - Senior Scholarship Night (invited students and families)
6:00 PM - MSMS Spring Instrumental Concert
Sports and Activities
Lady Devils Tennis (#17 seed) took a close 3-2 loss at Reading (#16) yesterday, ending their season. Congrats to the team and coaching staff on making it this far!
Today, the boys (#7) will take on North Attleboro (#27) at 2:00 PM.
And, our boys’ volleyball team (#27) will travel to O’Bryant (#6) for a 4pm playoff game.
Good luck, teams!
That’s all I’ve got for you today. Have a great one, and I’ll see you tomorrow!