, Gloucester, MA

August 24, 2013

Councilors eye ballot choices on Fuller

By Marjorie Nesin
Staff Writer

---- — As city councilors prepare to reshape November’s ballot question that will poll residents about Fuller school’s future, they are also seeking last-minute but crucial input from residents.

Councilors will be sitting down Monday for a workshop to work out the specific options on the ballot. While any of the current options offered — renewing the building’s use as a public school, relocating municipal offices to the building and selling or leasing the building could come under fire — could be posed to voters in the nonbinding referendum, the council could also leave or strike and of those options, and/or add more choices.

“We are anxious to change it and tweak it to make it more encompassing to what the public wants,” Council President Jackie Hardy said Friday.

Anyone with a new suggestion should email it to City Clerk Linda Lowe before the Monday evening meeting at Kyrouz Auditorium, which begins at 7 p.m.

At two public hearings that led up to this workshop, councilors heard from many people that would like to see the school option struck from the ballot question. While some councilors saw this as reason to remove the question, others like Hardy pointed out that the majority of those speaking at the hearings were parents, teachers and others directly involved in the schools.

“Naturally their inkling was to say we don’t want to use the Fuller School as a school, yet there are people on the street that are urging us to leave it on there,” Hardy said.

“It may not be my opinion that it should be used as a school,” she added, “but I’m certainly in favor of leaving it there as an option for people who do want to vote that way.”

City Councilor Paul McGeary said Friday he may raise a motion to remove the school option from the ballot, saying he believes the Fuller school building is still structurally sound, but no longer “educationally sound.”

“It’s such a long shot that it really muddies the water. I’d rather focus on things that the building really can be,” McGeary said.

McGeary said the workshop will act as a brainstorming session at which he hopes to discuss ideas that residents have presented to the council.

“What we’re really looking for is maybe some outside-the-box ideas for it,” McGeary said. “Something we haven’t thought of.”

The council will vote on any decisions made at Monday’s workshop at a Sept. 10 City Council meeting.

Councilors will hold that meeting at the Lanesville Community Center as part of an effort to make meetings more accessible by holding them out in different areas of the community.

Marjorie Nesin can be reached at 978-283-7000, x3451, or at