December School Committe Notes: Monatiquot Plans Approved
by Joe Walsh
The Braintree school committee met Monday and unanimously approved plans to open a kindergarten center at the Monatiquot School in the fall of 2014.
Superintendent Dr. Maureen S. Murray announced, “The school building committee, after reflecting on school space needs and the feedback we received from the town wide forum on Oct. 28, is recommending opening the Monatiquot School for accommodation as a full day and half day kindergarten center.” Murray also added, “I believe that drawing on the lessons that we’ve learned in developing the kindergarten programs at both the high school and Monatiquot, we can develop a vital and vibrant center that will benefit the students.”
The plan is widely viewed as only a temporary solution to the seemingly perpetual need for classroom space at the elementary level. “This is in my view an interim step to a long-term solve.” said Mayor Joseph Sullivan. Mayor Sullivan also stressed, however, that this is a step in the right direction and that tremendous progress has been made.
The committee also felt that this plan would benefit all Braintree elementary school students by freeing up classroom space. School committee member Pam Kiley said, “it’s really important that we realize that by opening up Monatiquot, we will open up classrooms, and that benefits 1st through 5th grade.”
Vice Chairman David Ringius expressed empathy for those who have concerns regarding the proposal, but requested that those who are opposed look at the long term benefits that the proposal will bring to elementary school students. “ We really have gotten to a point where the space is no longer there, and it’s no longer about being creative, it’s about making some tough decisions… We’re going to be able to positively impact [Elementary school students], I think we also have to mitigate the inconvenience to those kindergarten parents… for those of you that aren’t supportive I hope that you would back us, trust us, and move forward with us.” Ringius stated.
Rumors that Monatiquot would be opened up to elementary school students were also addressed. Chairwoman Shannon Hume said, “If we were going to do anything as far as opening up Monatiquot as an elementary school we would have to redistrict throughout the district because it would not fix the issues for the entire district.”
It is still undecided exactly who will attend Monatiquot, but Hume said that once more information is received from parents whose children are eligible, the decision will be made. It was also stated that although the Monatiquot center will house students that will eventually go on to different elementary schools, while at Monatiquot students would be placed in classrooms with other students who will be attending the same elementary school. The proposal will cost an estimated $800,000 in total.