Selectmen Vote To Form Elementary School Building Committee

Committee formation is the next step toward addressing deficiencies in town's four elementary school buildings.

The Board of Selectmen has taken the next step toward addressing problems with the town's four elementary schools by voting to form an Elementary School Building Committee.

The board acted on a motion put forth by Selectwoman Anne Marie Stronach at its Tuesday night meeting. The vote was 4-0 with Selectman Todd Johnson absent.

According to the motion, the new committee will be charged with "reviewing and addressing the findings of deficiency and safety concerns in the 2006 Tewksbury Long Range Facilities Master Plan." The committee will also be using the recommendations and reports put forth by the School Building Facilities Committee.

In October, based upon the findings of the School Building Facilities Committee, the town submitted Statements of Interest to the Massachusetts School Building Authority. Much of the work done by the Elementary School Building Committee will be shaped by the feedback received from the SBA.

Ultimately, the new committee will be creating a report and submitting recommendations to the Board of Selectmen and School Committee regarding funding and funding sources available and potential locations for a new school.

No timetable has been given to the committee to complete its work and the committee is not funded.

According to the motion, the committee will be made up of 11 members:

  • Two members of the Board of Selectmen
  • Two members of the School Committee
  • A member of the Finance Committee
  • A school principal appointed by the superintendent of schools
  • A community member knowledgeable in building construction
  • A community member knowledgeable in mission and delivery of education
  • The town manager
  • The superintendent of schools
  • The school department business manager

The Town Clerk will be posting the positions available to the public with information on how to apply.

Tewksbury2001 December 05, 2012 at 08:17 PM
This is good news. There is a need here for new buildings. Either two or four.
resident December 05, 2012 at 11:34 PM
maybe if the school dept kept with the upkeep of schools we wouldn't need new schools- just what we need more taxes-
Concerned Parent December 06, 2012 at 01:11 PM
I am in favor of 1 new elementary for grades 1- 4. Maybe 1 for prek-K. It works for grades 5- 12. If you want local elementary you would not live in suburbia. Nobody walks to school, I wish it was different, but it isn't, ant not likely to change. It seems having the children in 1 building would save on resources, isn't that why we reconfigured it now?
TomH December 06, 2012 at 02:03 PM
I couldnt agree more. Letting the high school fall apart to the point that it had to be replaced in 40 years is a disgrace.
jo December 06, 2012 at 02:34 PM
For a town that has such an involved senior citizen community, is it fair not to have representation by them on this board? I am sure that the seniors could add valuable input. After all, it seems that every candidate running for office wants their support.
Tewksbury2001 December 06, 2012 at 02:38 PM
My kids live about 3 miles from their school and they are already on a bus for about 45 minutes. If there was only 1 big school in town that commute time would probably get longer. I think no fewer than 2. Maybe they could do 3 instead of 4 and sell the property of the 4th school to cover some costs on the new 3.
Tewksbury2001 December 06, 2012 at 02:59 PM
why so they can disagree not matter what is proposed?
SD From T-Bury December 06, 2012 at 03:22 PM
I like that they're doing this early on. Thankfully, our 1950's (3) and 1960's (1) elementary schools have held up (and been maintained) well and, while not the prettiest buildings, are still solid and functioning, unlike the 1959 High School. Still, they are aging and are seriously outdated. I like the idea of considering new elementary schools BEFORE they are in disrepair to the level TMHS was. As long as the eventual proposal is reasonable, I'll back it. I hope the town can act like adults and be civil in any debate that arises, involved to the level we can be involved, and accepting of whatever is decided. Tewksbury is really turning a corner and those of us who have stuck it out will hopefully see the rewards for our patience. I think we are entering some good years for this town, if we work together and show some pride in our hometown.
Mikey December 06, 2012 at 03:55 PM
They need 2 new elementary schools one for k through 2nd grade and one 3rd to 4th grade
Bob December 06, 2012 at 05:25 PM
Jo, I would agree except the vocal seniors came out in droves against the new high school. That told me they have no common sense. I understand the argument about fixed income and I have voted against just about every spending plan (sewer, athletic field etc.) except the new HS. That was a no brainer and they fought it. Not all BTW. I know several who voted for their grandchildren instead of against.
Bob December 06, 2012 at 05:29 PM
I don't share your optimism about the town. I see more of the liberal mind set seeping in and it scares me. Spend now and figure out how to pay for it later. The sewer, the athletic field and several other spending initiatives that were out of the realm of the town's pocketbook. Someone in another thread said Tewksbury has champagne taste on a beer budget. I agree.
Tewksbury2001 December 06, 2012 at 07:44 PM
Those would be some big schools. I think they would be too large for K-2 grade kids. As it is now they have 7-8 sessions of each grade. These kids change schools every 2 years and will end up going to 5 schools in 12 years while in Tewksbury. That is too many transitions. If they are going to do this, they should build three to four Kindergarten to 4 schools to at least cut down on one school change during that period.
SD From T-Bury December 07, 2012 at 05:31 PM
As a (mostly) conservative voter, I disagree that the town is moving more towards a liberal mindset. I really don't think partisan politics are involved in the town. I'm a 40-something Tewksbury lifer, so I've seen good and bad times. It's taking a lot to dig out of some of the bad times, but we're doing it. It's not easy and it's not always pretty, but we can make this town better. Pessimism will get us nowhere. It's not productive.
Bob December 07, 2012 at 06:08 PM
SD, you call it pessimism and I call it reality. Look at the spending over the last 5-10 years in this town. We don't have the funds but we push forward. My taxes have doubled. I am paying for people's bad decision on hooking up to sewer even though I don't use it and voted against it because, shock, their fees went through the roof as we predicted! What isn't productive is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. I agree we can make the town better but we have to agree on a very important point first; people don't have bottomless pocketbooks! Fiscal conservatism is what is needed in this town and it is lacking.
SD From T-Bury December 07, 2012 at 06:14 PM
I don't disagree with your points Bob, just the mindset of pessimism. Optimism and proactive work are what is needed here. The mistakes of the past are in the past, and yes, I'm having trouble with the ridiculous tax & sewer rates, but there's only one way to make things better, and it's to be positive and proactive. Here's hoping, right?!
Bob December 07, 2012 at 06:16 PM
For our kids sake! Amen!


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