To the editor:
According to the Times, the new West Parish, if built, will house only 355 students (the Times, Page 1, Tuesday, July 10).
That means that, if the new school were already up, it would have been over-capacity last school year (based on an enrollment figure of 380 students).
Are we going to address the "over-crowding" at the existing West Parish by building a new school that houses fewer students?
That also means we are going to spend $40 million (with up to 48 percent reimbursed) for a facility that can benefit only one quarter of the elementary school population.
What about the children in Beeman, East Gloucester, Plum Cove, or Veterans? When are the other four elementary schools going to get their $40 million new facility?
This plan seems to indicate the only thing those schools get is an increase in their crowding as West Parish students are squeezed out to other schools by the construction of the lesser-capacity New West Parish.
As such, not only is this $40 million project of no benefit to the other 1,100-or-so elementary students, it may be a detriment for those students whose schools end up housing the West Parish overflow pushed out by the 355-student limit.
Additionally, the MSBA report suggests the New West Parish will be unable to fulfill the purposes for which it's allegedly being built.
We asked MSBA for a 500-student New West Parish to attract new choice students and relieve spatial constraints; they'll only fund a school with space for fewer students than already go to the existing West Parish.
If the city really wants an elementary school with the capacity for 500 students and a ton of space, it has it — it's called Fuller.
And to those who worry the reuse of Fuller would cost the city a potential piece of developable real estate: take a look at I-4, C-2 or the Maplewood Avenue School, and think about whether the city should be engaging in more speculative real estate endeavors.
At the end of the day, the question becomes: Can we really afford to spend so much money on so few students at the direct expense of so many more remaining students and the taxpayers as a whole?
Chestnut Street, Gloucester