At the request of a citizen, I reviewed the MSBA Module 3 – Feasibility Study section especially in regards to submission of Preferred solution. I’ve bolded some of the items that caught my attention.
While I still think the School Committee should have had a better/stronger voice at this point it is their own fault, the Mayor included for NOT being more vocal about their involvement earlier on.
I also think the MSBA is pretty clear that contrary to what the City Solicitor says in the MSBA view participation and voting on a project has NOTHING TO DO WITH THE ED REFORM LAW..in fact several times the MSBA states CLEARLY
submittal to the MSBA, in accordance with the state open meeting law and any other local requirements.
Module 3 clearly shows the Mayor is REQUIRED as Chair of the School Committee to sign the form and yet the City clearly IGNORED that and submitted the form signed twice by the Manager! The Manager in my view has mishandled the entire project, more concerned with the politics than the public good and the cost to the taxpayer. He turtled like a scared politician and supported those who voted for him to get the job instead of doing what is correct for the city as its Manager.
I also think that the last minute “letter” from the Senator, Congresswoman and UMASS President was viewed as a political attack by the current council and this became a political fight for power instead of what was best for the city, the ugliness of Lowell politics won out.
With that said the MSBA is 100% aware of the divide in this city and based on the items below may very well kick this back and tell the city to get its head out of its current orifice and on straight and support one decision that most can live with before they pass this on for review and final approval.
The MSBA in my view should have that opportunity and we need a new High School. I’ve supported Option 2 as a compromise that I think we can live with including the lower middle class, the poorest citizens and the elderly tax payers. While the Fiscal watchdog has been neutered, The #1 vote getter has turned her back on the elderly and those most in need and Danny Rourke has grown a beard to join witness protection, Mayor Ed Kennedy cannot and should not stop this project because he refuses to sign it.
Like it or not this has to go to the next step where I TRUST the MSBA more than the City Administration to do the right thing and kick this back to the city. Then we work TOGETHER to reach a compromise that no one 100% likes.
OPTION 2! Less taxes, no Eminent Domain, stays in downtown for social services and less transportation cost.
Mr. Mayor PLEASE sign this form by Friday and let the MSBA Process continue. You owe that to the current and future students, to the hundreds who took a stand either in the Citizens for Cawley or LHS Downtown. All the time and effort should not be stopped or discarded because of your own personal preference.
Module 3 Highlights
3.3.5 Local Actions and Approvals
The Preferred Schematic Report, as with other submittals to the MSBA, must be
reviewed and approved locally for submittal to the MSBA, in accordance with the state open meeting law and any other local requirements. Public participation and local
approval procedures and practices may vary by community and by project. Districts are encouraged to consult with their local counsel to ensure that all applicable requirements are satisfied.
To document local approval of the Preferred Schematic Report and its submittal to the
MSBA, the MSBA requires the District to provide:
• Certified copies of the Minutes of the School Building Committee (“SBC”) meeting
from the meeting(s) where the Feasibility Study related submittals were
approved for submittal to the MSBA. The meeting minutes must include the
specific language of the vote and the results of the vote, stating the number of
SBC Members who voted in favor of submittal to the MSBA, the number of
opposed and the number of abstentions; and
• A list SBC meeting dates, the agendas, briefly describe the materials presented,
if applicable, specific stakeholders in attendance (e.g., representatives of the local historic commission, school committee members beyond those in the SBC,
local community group representatives, etc.), what materials are available for
public review and where those materials may be viewed. The MSBA also requires
Districts to provide similar information for public meetings and presentations
conducted in addition to school building committee meetings.
3.4.1 MSBA Staff Review
The District and the MSBA shall work in collaboration to determine which of the
solutions studied may be recommended to the MSBA Board of Directors as the preferred
solution in the Preferred Schematic Report. The solution may be phased in order of priority of need, if appropriate. It is possible, in some cases, that the study may
recommend a “no-build” solution. If the MSBA and the District cannot agree upon a
preferred solution, no preferred schematic design shall be forwarded to the Board for its consideration. The MSBA and the District will begin a review of the alternatives presented to determine if there are actions that can be taken to reach consensus on a final recommendation.
The MSBA review process for the Preferred Schematic Report includes:
• Written response comments based on staff review;
• Conference call with the District and its design team to discuss the Report; and
• Written responses from the District addressing staff comments as required.
3.4.2 Facility Assessment Subcommittee Review
Upon receipt and review of the Preferred Schematic Report, MSBA staff will schedule the
District for presentation at a Facilities Assessment Subcommittee (“FAS”) Meeting. The
FAS meeting is an informational meeting only and is intended to provide an opportunity
for Districts to further the MSBA’s understanding of the proposed project. The FAS will
not take any votes, and any formal actions required by the MSBA Board of Directors to
fulfill MSBA procedures will be taken at the regularly scheduled Board meetings. FAS
meeting dates are posted on the MSBA website and should be consulted when preparing
the Feasibility Study work plan and schedule.
MSBA staff will notify the District, Designer, and OPM by e-mail of the scheduled FAS
meeting. The e-mail will include an outline of the material that should be presented,
which typically includes an overview of the project, the evaluation conducted to arrive at the recommended preferred solution, and if applicable, responses to specific questions regarding potential concerns noted during staff’s review of the Preferred Schematic Report.