Space Crunch by the Numbers…Should Lowell buy/lease another building?

2016-2017-enroll

The above report shows the total enrollment in the Lowell School System. Of particular interest is the number of middle school students because we have been told of the “bubble” in those grades. Over two months ago the Supt was asked to present the committee with a plan to address this issue.

Last week the combined facility subcommittee’s of the School Committee and City Council with the City Manager and his staff was held, to look at the space crunch in the middle schools here in Lowell.

The question of how many students we had this year wasn’t able to be answered by the Asst. Supt. of Finance but this week JUST the School Committee in their packet (available on line) is being given that number along with the “projected” number for next year.

ms-class-size-2016
ms-class-size-2017

The “presented” plan to deal with this increase, add class space at the Rogers School, was NOT received well by Committee members Gendron or Gignac especially since the Administration provided NOTHING in writing.

What was more shocking and at the same time very telling to me was there was no request or discussion with the Manager, his staff and the City Councilors in attendance of the possibility of buying or leasing a new school building and yet again, 1 week later to the School Committee ONLY this administration is proposing that.

rfp

Unless the Administration can show how this could be done from the existing budget, shouldn’t that have been discussed with the people who would have to provide the funding?

I would hope at least one school committee member would ask why this wasn’t brought up at that meeting? I would ask that if I was sitting there.

Why wasn’t this information or idea about an RFP brought for at the facilities meeting when the request for a plan was submitted 2 months ago and the City Manager and 3 Councilor’s who have to find the funding in attendance to hear and comment on this?

I would also point out that the cost to outfit just the remodeled classes is over $400,000 NOT counting the cost of the city to do the work. Will that be out of the existing budget or will the budget need to be increased by that amount?

In the past when my kids were at the Magnet School downtown – Lowell High had 3,000 students or more, why can’t we move the Freshman Academy back into those buildings? What is the average class size for existing classes at the high School?

A strong School Site Council at the Rogers would want to hear an exact plan and so would parents who have students in other elementary schools who might have 4th grade students that might be interested in a STEM Academy.

This is another example of why strong active school site council are needed. Parents of present and possible future STEM students should know where their kids will be going to school in grades 5-8 not having to wait year to year.

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