SCHOOL COMMITTEE & SUPERINTENDENT: We Have Building Needs That Must Be Addressed

WILMINGTON, MA — As public discussions have recently reignited regarding the town’s facility needs — including a Public Safety Substation in North Wilmington and a new Senior Center — the School Committee and the Superintendent have a clear message — don’t forget about the schools.

School Superintendent Dr. Glenn Brand has told the School Committee he has concerns regarding the sense of urgency with regard to the current conditions of the schools within the Town’s Master Facility Plan. Brand and Assistant Superintendent Ruggiero had friendly meetings on at least two occasions with town officials this summer to relay their concerns.

Brand estimated that it could take up to 8 years to see any of the proposed schools projects in the Master Facility Plan come to fruition due to the lengthy process of procuring funding from the Massachusetts School Building Authority and the fact that multiple schools would be slated at the same time for renovations and new builds.

“Some of our schools simply cannot wait that long to be addressed,” stressed Brand.

(The School Committee previously endorsed the Facility Master Plan’s recommendation to close the Boutwell and Wildwood, renovate the Shawsheen & Woburn St. and make them PreK-Grade 2 schools; and renovate the North & the West and make them Grades 3-5 schools.  It should be noted, however, that a majority of the current School Committee — David Ragsdale, Jo Newhouse, Jesse Fennelly and Jay Samaha — were not part of that vote, nor was Dr. Brand the Superintendent of Schools at that time.)

During this school year, Brand plans to “work collaboratively with the School Committee, Town Manager, Board of Selectmen, and other town entities to address school building conditions across the district, and develop a short, mid and long term plan for attending to the physical of our schools.”

In the immediate term, Brand is especially concerned over how the district’s student support services staff are situated.

“I really think that we have a large number of staff that is housed in quite insufficient space and we find need to find a solution for them for lots of different reasons,” he noted.

Brand and the School Committee — along with the Board of Selectmen, Finance Committee, and Facility Master Plan Committee — will be participating in a discussion of the town’s facility needs at a special joint meeting on Monday, September 30, 2019 at 7pm at the Wildwood Early Childhood Center. The public is encouraged to attend.

(NOTE: The cover photo is from the Wilmington Public Schools website.)

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