, Gloucester, MA

July 12, 2013

Letter: Let your voice be heard on Fuller's future

Gloucester Daily Times

---- — To the editor:

There were several revealing moments at the July 2 special City Council meeting regarding Fuller School and the city’s fire stations.

One such moment was when Councilor Tobey asked if the administration intended to spend so much as $1 on maintaining Fuller over this fiscal year.

The answer? “No.” Instead, the administration intends to shift any budgeted Fuller maintenance money into leasing the former charter school to house the preschool and offices.

Multiple councilors then asked if the administration would be willing to first put this matter to a public hearing to discuss the wisdom of willfully neglecting — and potentially destroying — a $17 million city-owned school building while simultaneously shelling out hundreds of thousands of dollars each year to lease a privately-owned school building. Again, the administration’s answer was “no.”

Finally, when the administration was asked if it had any specific plans for what would become of Fuller after being mothballed, the answer was another resounding “no.” And, remember: Fuller has already been shut down as a school for five years.

One positive revelation was that the will needed to right the total bungling of Fuller may in fact be present in Gloucester, and that the city councilors are seeking it out; at the end of its meeting, the City Council agreed to hold a public hearing on what should be done with Fuller school this Tuesday July 16.

Whether you think it should return to use as a revitalized, leading elementary school as I do, or have an alternative use in mind, I think everyone can agree that our current policy of attempting to intentionally destroy a major city asset, with no long-term plan for what happens thereafter, and continuing to lease more and more private real estate while city-owned real estate sits empty is not the right path.

Hopefully many of Gloucester’s concerned citizens will take this opportunity to be heard — I hope to see you Tuesday.