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WVN #18: Master Plan & high school project

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  • waylandvoters2
    WAYLAND VOTERS NETWORK May 19, 2004 Dear Wayland Voter, You have an opportunity to comment on Wayland s priorities for the future at the Master Plan Forum this
    Message 1 of 1 , May 19, 2004
      May 19, 2004

      Dear Wayland Voter,

      You have an opportunity to comment on Wayland's priorities for the
      future at the Master Plan Forum this Thursday, May 20, Middle School
      Auditorium, 7:30pm. A copy of the draft Master Plan is available at
      the library, the Planning Dept. Office in Town Hall, and online at
      http://www.wayland.ma.us/planning/Masterplan_Main.htm. In addition
      to the high school project, the Master Plan refers to the following
      possible "short-term" capital projects: new/expanded library, Town
      Hall, Senior Center, multi-generational community recreation center,
      and North Wayland fire station. Thursday's forum is one of your last
      chances to comment on the draft Master Plan. The Planning Board is
      receiving comments only until June 1. This is a firm deadline
      because comments must be incorporated into the final Master Plan in
      time for it to be submitted to the state by June 10.

      Also this Thursday, May 20, the High School Building Committee
      continues its work on options for modernizing and expanding Wayland
      High School. The HSBC intends to consider three options, select one
      of them, develop a conceptual design of the selected option
      (including cost and schedule), and present that proposal to voters at
      the polls and at a subsequent Town Meeting. (See report below of May
      17 School Committee meeting for more info re. scheduling of ballot
      question.) Thursday's meeting of the HSBC begins with a public
      informational session on "Construction Challenges for Public
      Buildings," High School L1, 6:30-7:30pm, followed by the regular
      meeting beginning at 7:30. More information is available at

      WVN subscriber and regular School Committee attendee Tom Sciacca
      submits this report on the meeting of 5/17:

      Approximately 50 parents from Claypit Hill attended to express their
      unhappiness about rising class sizes in grades four and five. Many
      of their children will be moving from classes of approximately 20 to
      classes nearing the School Committee guideline maximum of 25.

      Although no vote was taken, Chairman Jeff Dieffenbach expressed a
      clear unwillingness to give Claypit Hill any preferential treatment
      over the other elementary schools, and provided data that showed that
      Happy Hollow is actually slightly more crowded than Claypit Hill, at
      95% of capacity as opposed to 94%. Loker is currently least crowded
      at 91%.

      According to research findings, class sizes of 13-17 definitely
      produce superior results to classes of 22-26, but no benefits have
      been documented for reducing class sizes to 20 from 25. According to
      Dieffenbach, it would take $200,000 to reduce class sizes in Town
      just in grades 4 and 5 to a maximum of 23. There are already over
      $700,000 of "unmet needs" in the FY05 budget; Superintendent Gary
      Burton said he would prioritize spending any new-found money on those
      items rather than on reducing elementary class sizes.

      As the clearly unhappy parents left, the architects and project
      manager for the high school project joined the committee. The
      schedule for the project planning was discussed. It will be posted
      to the High School Building Committee website (see above) after this
      Thursday's HSBC meeting.

      Three general options are being developed and in July, one will be
      chosen by the HSBC for further definition. The issue of whether to
      present to the Town a proposal whose cost is based on "professional
      estimates" vs. actual construction bids was discussed, as a result of
      the Town's poor experience with cost overruns at the Public Safety
      Building. The architect said that he puts enough fat in his
      estimates that he has had only one overrun in his last 12 projects.
      School Committee member Bob Gordon expressed his satisfaction with
      that track record and said that bringing hard construction bids to
      the Town would be an unnecessary waste of time.

      For many townspeople the most critical schedule issue is when a
      ballot question is likely to be scheduled. The architects and
      project manager stated emphatically that it could not happen in time
      for the Presidential election in November.

      Although it might be possible to schedule a special ballot at the
      same time as the Presidential election, several people stated their
      belief that such an option would also be unacceptable, because it
      would not allow the School Committee enough time to sell the project
      to the Town.

      Given the above, at the public comment period your humble
      correspondent took the opportunity to attempt to educate the members
      of the SC as to the realities of the winter habits of older citizens,
      and the fact that any winter special election will disenfranchise
      many of them. To my amazement, SC members seemed ignorant of the
      facts that older folks leave town in the winter, many for extended
      periods which might entirely encompass an election cycle, and that
      they sometimes go places without any practical Internet access that
      would allow them to stay in contact with Town affairs. Member
      Heather Pineault at least expressed awareness that many older folks
      are not online at all.

      The SC then entered Executive Session to discuss negotiations.

      Thank you for reading this WVN newsletter. Please forward it to your
      friends and neighbors in Wayland. If they want to receive their own
      copy, they can send an email to waylandvoters2@... and they
      will be signed up for the listserv. Or, they can sign themselves up
      by sending a blank email to waylandvotersnetwork-
      subscribe@yahoogroups.com. Click reply and send after receiving an e-
      mail confirming the subscription. Anyone who'd rather receive
      information from WVN by phone or regular mail should leave a message
      at (508) 358-9171.

      Wayland Voters Network
      Margo Melnicove, Chair
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