The question of whether Southborough needs fours schools or whether it could get away with three has been an ongoing debate for several years now. The School Committee has looked into the issue in the past, but Superintendent Charles Gobron said at a meeting earlier this month he plans to form a new committee dedicated to evaluating Southborough’s school housing needs.
Gobron told the K-8 School Committee at their June meeting that he asked Neary Principal Linda Murdock to chair the committee which will focus on fact-finding.
The committee’s goal Gobron said will be to, “gather good data that we can all agree on, present a report to the School Committee, and to thoroughly examine what we’re going to do as the population changes.”
Earlier this year, former Advisory Committee member Al Hamilton presented data that suggested a “substantial downward trend in school populations” over the next decade. According to census data, Hamilton said enrollment will likely decrease by 35 to 40 percent by 2020. Gobron at the time said he did not agree with Hamilton’s projections.
Since the town owns the school buildings, Gobron said any discussion of shuttering one – with Neary being the most likely candidate – should involve town officials. “If Neary School closed, what would it be used for? We haven’t talked about this,” Gobron said.
“I don’t think we can do this whole process in a vacuum,” School Committee Chairperson Kathleen Harragan Polutchko said. “If we got to a position where we thought we should close Neary, would the town even want it?”
The committee is expected to begin work when school resumes in September. In addition to Murdock, Gobron said he would like the committee to have a representative from the School Committee, as well as teachers, parents, and members of the community. If you’re interested, contact the Office of the Superintendent at (508) 486-5115.