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March 30, 2013

Letter: Committee's chief's answers spur more questions

To the editor:

I am writing in response to Friday’s letter from the School Committee chairman (“Providing answers on school project,” the Times, March 29).

Why are you capping only at the West Parish population when you have no schools downtown? In fact, why did you not address Councilor Tobey’s question about sending all the students from downtown to “suburban” schools outside Wards 2 and 3?

That is possible only until the “modulars” wear out. Your survey addressed only the “school community,” which is that only for a few years while their children are in school, and you ignored the rest of the taxpaying community, which has to pay for your schemes.

You did not even ask us grandparents who are in the schools every day, including Fuller preschool. What happened to the often voiced claims by the School Committee that the state would not fund renovation of schools any more but only new construction? That claim was obviously false, since you just used those funds for roofing and are applying for work at the high school.

You are no longer talking about “neighborhood schools” I notice. Do the rest of us get any credit for pointing out that you do not have them as long as you bus all children from downtown elsewhere? Now why can you not split one school up into separate schools under the same roof, as is done frequently elsewhere — and is in fact done with the O’Maley house system? Above all, tell us the truth!

By the way, we have in Fuller a building that was built by the church and was not built under state funding subsidy restrictions. The state reimbursement program does not look kindly at wide hallways, big gyms (never mind multiple gyms) and cafeterias and auditoriums.

During the start of the GHS renovation, then-Mayor Rafter favored a new high school up at Blackburn. It turned out that we would not be able to build anything close to as nice a facility as our present Depression-era building because of the state guidelines which are intended to limit spending.

Replacing an old school building with a new one can lead to major disappointment.

DAMON CUMMINGS

Gloucester

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