November School Committee Meeting Notes: East Renovations and Kindergarten

by Joe Walsh
BHS News

Mayor Joseph Sullivan and the Braintree School Committee convened Monday to discuss future plans for several schools in Braintree.

Plans include immense renovations to East Middle School, expansion of the full day kindergarten program at the Monatiquot School, and possible future additions to several elementary schools.

The school committee’s main concern is renovating East Middle School. The current proposal is similar to the renovations made to South Middle School in 2010. The focus of the project would be the school’s electrical, heating and ventilation systems as well as it’s ceilings. The last major renovation made to East was the replacement of many of its windows through the Green Energy Repair Program.

“East… is in dire need of repair.” said Shannon Hume, Chairwoman of the Braintree School Committee.

The proposal would cost an estimated $6 million, nearly twice as much as the 2010 South renovations. Mayor Sullivan is scheduled to meet with the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) on Wednesday to seek approval for the proposal.

“We hope that we will get favorable news on Wednesday. And i think that is our focus in terms of our statement of interest this year and hopefully we get that accomplished, and we replicate the improvements that we were able to make at South Middle School just a couple of years ago.” said Mayor Sullivan.

The full day kindergarten program at the Monatiquot School is also going to be expanded next year.

“What Monatiquot is going to house has yet to be determined.” said Hume. “ There is some misinformation out there. Some teachers even think they are moving to Monatiquot, that has not been decided yet.”

The school began a full day kindergarten program this year, however lower than expected enrollment has hindered future plans for more aggressive expansion. Mayor Sullivan hopes for higher numbers next year, and suspects that the $3,000 fee may have turned away some families who had expressed interest.

The School Committee and Mayor Sullivan also want to provide more space for students in Elementary school, an issue that Braintree school have been facing for several years.

“We have a growing enrollment issue, which is a challenge, some might call it a problem but if you’re going to call it a problem, its a good problem, because it means people are moving to town” said Mayor Sullivan“ I think we are doing, as a community a pretty good job,with that being said i think we are all pushing ourselves to do a little bit better.”

The School Committee has taken into account the teacher to student ratios and the number of paraprofessionals available. Hume said that adding additions to some of the elementary schools may have to be considered, but made it clear that the East Middle School renovations, and expansion of the full day kindergarten program at Monatiquot are being given higher priority. “Money is a huge factor.” she said.