To the editor:
Citizens of Gloucester are being asked to vote on the debt exclusion question to fund the first combined elementary school project. We are also embarking on a mandated sewer project. These debt burdens are worrisome in such fragile times. Our world is changing dramatically. We must proceed wisely and carefully.
Watching the schools reopen has been very interesting. The four remaining elementary schools that the School Committee feels are unfit and needing to be replaced have actually proven to have built-in amenities that adapt well to the COVID-19 world we now live in. The smaller schools have classrooms with doors leading outside. They allow each class of students to enter and exit in small groups. Along with the door, the classrooms also have large windows that open to provide the best ventilation possible— fresh air! I taught at Beeman in one of those classrooms and it was a healthy and safe learning environment.
Will the proposed big school model that houses many students operate as safely and efficiently as our smaller ones? How will our educational needs change under the necessary new guidelines we will be asked to follow? Could we refurbish/adapt these existing schools to better suit our new needs? Can we be creative and innovative with what we already have and protect our green spaces like Mattos Field? Is taking on this massive debt fiscal suicide in this present climate?
Gloucester’s children and future are our responsibility. May we make the right decisions.