How many schools does Southborough need? It’s a question that’s been on the table for some time now and it’s been the topic of heated debate on this blog in the past. School officials have done preliminary research into the question, and they shared some new facts at a school committee meeting last night.
The proposal has always been to close Neary and shift grades around in the remaining three schools. In a preliminary report, the school committee said closing Neary would save the town about $175K a year in operating costs.
The challenge has been how to distribute students among three schools. School officials have said in the past that Trottier enrollment is limited to 720 students by septic restrictions, but School Facilities Manager David White told the school committee he took another look and determined the septic system could accommodate up to 780 students.
Still, White said the building was not designed to hold that big of a crowd. Students would have to be ‘shoehorned’ in he told the committee.
The school committee plans to continue gathering facts on the school consolidation issue, but no decisions appear to be imminent. You can read a full recap of their discussion in the Metrowest Daily News.
What do you think? Is closing Neary a good idea or not? Should the schools table the idea or pursue it more aggressively? Share your thoughts in the comments.
Keep the 4 schools because you know that eventually the population will have another upswing and then the town will be revisiting building another school because Neary will be gone or used for something else. In the meantime, enjoy the feel of a small school atmosphere, use the unused portions of the school to fulfill other town needs (as is being done now I believe at Neary). Of course Neary, being the “ugly stepsister” as Mr. Billhart called it once, will need $ to renovate it at some point in the future…..near future. Just my opinion. :)
If we are going to close a school, which I think is a good idea, if the other schools have the room to support the grades presently at Neary, then close and level Neary for good and make it open space for wildlife. What has happened in the past is a town building becomes another “Silo” for another group that wants taxpayer money to support their socialization/sports and daycare/after school activities. One and just one example is the Art and Rec Center which is a money pit and a waste of tax payer money. Who in the world made that recommendation? It should have been leveled. It burns me every time we walk by and inside are 5 people in the building and there is $100K worth of work going on to repair it and bring it “into code”. There are private companies that operate more efficiently and the optimum word her is “compete” for services rendered. There are several buildings that need to be closed for good in my estimation to cut taxes. If people need “REC” or “Socialization” than seek out other areas where it is not paid for with my/our tax supported money. School is a necessity. Fire and Police on a limited basis is a necessity. But, if you can’t find friends and things to do on your own than it is not my/our/town responsibility to support your activities and outside of school daycare services. Please keep in mind that these are good activities and good peole but it should be done through free market enterprises competing for your/our money. There are too many two income families in Southboro, and many times unneccessary, but that is their choice, where the parents rely on tax payer funded programs rec, pre-school, after-school, summer programs administered by the town and employees. Yes they have to pay for the services but we have to pay for the town buildings, employees and benefits. Many buildings are used strictly for socialization and the support of it. I am all for socialization and the kids playing after school. There is far too little of that. But if you are not there to watch your kids I dont think the town, taxpayers/me have any reponsibility to supply services so you can stay at work. Buy a smaller home. I am sorry, it sounds mean, but it costs too much of my/your/everyones tax money and too much of it is wasted in what our town/state/government does with it ineficiently.
In the event that we do go to a 3 school option anything we do with Neary should not preclude returning it to service as a school if the K-8 school age population trend reverses. The Superintendents office is a good example of this adaptive re use plan. The space that is currently used for the office could be returned to its original purpose in a few days.
Our municipal infrastructure is fragmented, inefficient, expensive, and in many cases in poor condition. Resolving Neary’s role in our building inventory is the linchpin that determines how we address our other needs.
Shared use of school properties is problematic. Our school officials have the responsibility of providing security for our children and that is in direct conflict with having municipal facilites co located which should have minimally restrictive access to all.
We continue to carry a high debt burden and there does not appear any appetite for building new municipal buildings in the near future. For the next few years we will struggle to find the funds to pay for teachers, firefighters, police officers and other service providers. In my opinion our school system is building rich and teacher poor. If we can operate a quality system in 3 schools then it is a big win for all.