School Committee member and chair of the Capital Subcommittee Helen Charlupski provided an update on the work the School Committee’s Capital Subommittee has been doing to address short and long term school building needs:
Since the May 7 election, the School Department (PSB) and School Committee have re-considered a wide range of short term and long term options to solve the continued, severe overcrowding in our schools. The Capital Subcommittee of the School Committee met on May 19 and June 4 with the purpose of discussing both short term options and long term options. Below is a short summary of the School Committee’s discussion to date.
Short Term Options under Active Consideration:
- Extension of some or all current leases (e.g., renting space from community institutions for BEEP and/or Town staff)
- Rental of some additional space (for example, Maimonides School) for short-medium term use (for K-8 grade spans, BEEP, and/or Town staff)
- Re-consider and possibly reconfigure use of Town/PSB-owned property over the next 3-5 years (existing Baldwin School building, Kennard Rd, Lynch Center, Old Lincoln School, etc.)
Long Term Options under Active Consideration:
- Continue to actively identify and pursue any properties that may become available for a 2 section or 3 section K-8 elementary school that would include BEEP classrooms and district-wide programs
- Change pedagogical model, e.g., 1300 student 7-8 middle school on a new site; 900 student PK-K school on a new site. These options did not receive broad support from the Committee. At the last Capital Subcommittee meeting they were de-prioritized based on a straw poll of School Committee members.
- Consider larger, expand-in-place options (e.g., 6 of 8 elementary schools growing to become 4-5 sections each with roughly 800-1000 students each). While 4 and 5 section schools currently exist in Brookline, there was not support to move actively towards a system of six or more schools having 800-1000 students each.
- Continue active partnership with MSBA about Pierce renovation and expansion.
- Active discussion of the status and possible timing of Driscoll renovation and expansion
At its final meeting of the year on Wednesday, June 19 at 4:00 p.m., the Capital Subcommittee will discuss and possibly short-list the above options. At the subcommittee meeting there will be opportunities for comment from those in attendance about the long term options being considered. Further deliberation will take place on Tuesday, July 9 at the School Committee Summer Workshop.