GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

Breaking News

Latest Cape Ann News

October 23, 2012

New school won't face city vote

Project will just goto bonding, Kirk says

The proposal to build a new West Parish School or renovate the existing one, at costs now estimated at around $26 million, will not have to face a referendum of city voters.

Mayor Carolyn Kirk made that official Monday while discussing other aspects of the new school proposal, saying that investing in the city school buildings isn’t optional and shouldn’t be decided by referendum vote.

The city, she said, has an obligation to provide appropriate learning places for its students.

“(It’s) just like I would never put a referendum question out there that asked, which would you rather — keep the water rate low or boil your water for 20 days,” Kirk said, “I would never recommend putting the same type of question out there when it comes to school buildings.”

Improving water infrastructure, like the roughly $25 million in repairs after the 2009 boil water order, wasn’t optional, Kirk said, and neither is providing for city school students.

Even without a referendum on a school project, Kirk said there will be venues for community input. School Building committee meetings, she said, are public, and when the $500,000 feasibility study ends, there will be time for community dialogue.

At the very least, the City Council has to hold a public hearing before bonding for the project. Hearings are always held when the Council votes on bonding, and this proposal would go to the council for bond approval.

Initial estimates laid that cost out at between $30 million and $40 million. According to an update published on the school district website, staffers with the Massachusetts School Building Authority told the district that the estimated cost of the project would end up between $25 million and $30 million.

Of that cost, 48 percent would be reimbursed by the MSBA, which would also reimburse the same share of the $500,000 feasibility study, which the City Council unanimously approved borrowing for in May.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Latest Cape Ann News

Pictures of the Week
Your news, your way
Comments Tracker
AP Video Network
Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN Raw: Deadly Landslide Hits Indian Village Obama Chides House GOP for Pursuing Lawsuit New Bill Aims to Curb Sexual Assault on Campus Russia Counts Cost of New US, EU Sanctions 3Doodler Bring 3-D Printing to Your Hand Six PA Cops Indicted for Robbing Drug Dealers Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey Raw: Obama Eats Ribs in Kansas City In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast Raw: Otters Enjoy Water Slides at Japan Zoo NCAA Settles Head-injury Suit, Will Change Rules Raw: Amphibious Landing Practice in Hawaii Raw: Weapons Fire Hits UN School in Gaza Raw: Rocket Launches Into Space With Cargo Ship Broken Water Main Floods UCLA