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WVN #19: high school project update

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  • waylandvoters2
    WAYLAND VOTERS NETWORK June 8, 2004 Dear Wayland Voter, I have attended the last two meetings of the High School Building Committee and thought you d like an
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 8, 2004
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      June 8, 2004

      Dear Wayland Voter,

      I have attended the last two meetings of the High School Building
      Committee and thought you'd like an update. The HSBC is considering
      three options for modernizing the high school. It will present these
      to the public at a forum on July 8. The following week, the
      committee will select one option that voters eventually will be asked
      to approve. Between now and July 8, the architects will provide the
      committee with details re. each option, including costs. At this
      point, however, the options are still sketchy. Here are the main
      features of each:

      OPTION 1 -
      Maintain and renovate all existing buildings.
      Add new buildings for Gym, Auditorium, Science Labs, additional
      classroom space, and Commons addition.
      OPTION 2 -
      Maintain and renovate existing Field House, Math/English Building,
      Arts Building, and Media Center.
      Demolish Language, Social Studies, Science, and Commons buildings.
      Add new buildings for Commons, Gym, Auditorium, Science Labs, and
      majority of classroom space.
      (Variation of this option retains Commons Building for another use.)
      OPTION 3 -
      Maintain and renovate existing Field House.
      Demolish all other existing buildings.
      Build entire facility new except for Field House.

      When these options were presented to the HSBC on May 27, the project
      manager, Dick Amster, guesstimated that in terms of cost, Option 1
      may cost perhaps 5-7 percent less than Option 2, and Option 2 may
      cost perhaps 7-10 percent less than Option 3. Given this, I
      commented at the next meeting (June 3) that the three options do not
      appear to offer taxpayers substantial differences in terms of cost.
      And I asked whether the committee would consider a fourth option,
      based on what is absolutely necessary, as opposed to what may be
      desirable. (For example, I asked whether a new 850-seat auditorium
      is absolutely necessary.) I got the impression that the committee
      does not intend to come up with a fourth option that significantly
      reduces the scope (and cost) of the current Option 1.

      A fuller picture of each option will be presented at the forum on
      July 8. At its last meeting, the HSBC discussed that July 8 is a
      poor date for such an important public forum because of the Monday
      holiday, which causes some residents to take that week off for
      vacation. But the committee concluded that it had little flexibility
      in terms of scheduling. If you can't attend the July 8 forum,
      perhaps you could attend one of the regular HSBC meetings between now
      and then. The HSBC meets every Thursday night. Each meeting begins
      and ends with public comment.

      The next meeting of the High School Building Committee is this
      Thursday, June 10, 7:30pm, High School Commons Conference Room.
      Remember, after July 8 only one option will be on the table. Now is
      the time for you to let the HSBC know your preference.

      In other Town business, WVN subscriber and regular School Committee
      attendee Tom Sciacca posts these highlights from the School Committee
      meeting June 1, 2004:

      School Bus Advertising - The School Committee discussed the
      possibility of posting ads on school buses to bring in some non-tax
      revenue. As a result of an earlier request, the staff had looked
      into the possibility and located a turnkey vendor who would provide
      the ads. It could bring in between $50K and $100K annually. The
      staff was not generally enamored of the idea - Assistant
      Superintendent Wayne Ogden introduced the word "crass" into the
      discussion. Members of the School Committee spent more time
      discussing practical issues than appropriateness. The Town does not
      own 11 of the 15 buses it uses, and the owner of the leased buses
      does not like the idea and would insist on a cut if the Town insists
      on going through with it. Furthermore, the buses would have to be
      made available for an extended period in the summer to mount the
      signs, but the owner serves other clients with the buses in the
      summer. It would be possible to start with the few buses the Town
      owns, but that would limit the revenue. The tenor of the discussion
      was summed up by School Committee member Bob Gordon when he said the
      question was whether the actual revenue achievable "is worth losing
      our virginity."

      The SC agreed to invite the ad vendor to a meeting to get more
      information, and to informally raise the issue with other Town board
      members and friends around town to see how people would feel.

      (A note from your Humble Reporter: Personally, I would rather pay the
      ten bucks or so that this advertising would save me on my tax bill
      than teach our children yet again that life is all about crass
      commercialism. They are already taught that lesson well enough. But
      maybe that's just me. How do you feel about it? Let them know!)

      Claypit Hill Class Sizes - The School Committee discussed the
      requests from parents at the last meeting and via letters and phone
      calls to decrease class sizes. The SC agreed that the only viable
      question was whether they should revisit the class size policy;
      requests to give Claypit special treatment were not reasonable.
      After a brief discussion, the SC agreed that they already have a well-
      established class size policy, the Administration and teachers have
      given them no reason to question the policy, and that they should not
      take any action at this time.

      High School Parking Fees - A discussion of the possibility of
      imposing parking fees for student cars at Wayland High School began,
      again motivated by a desire to find non-tax income. This quickly
      evolved into a general discussion of meeting the Finance Committee's
      request to return $100K to the Town this year. Superintendent Gary
      Burton told the School Committee: "You have to decide how much money
      you can spend. You shouldn't take orders from the Selectmen and the
      Fincom. You shouldn't concede your authority to them. You shouldn't
      kowtow to them." He said he was only able to accommodate the
      Fincom's tight budget for the next fiscal year because of an unusual
      combination of circumstances, and but for that he would have come
      back to the School Committee saying it was impossible to budget
      within the guideline. When asked by Chairman Jeff Dieffenbach what
      happens if the School Committee is unhappy with a Fincom guideline,
      Burton responded: "In the past there was a closed-door meeting
      between the chairman of the Fincom and the chairman of the School
      Committee to renegotiate the guideline when the School Committee
      found the guideline unacceptable."

      There is no School Committee meeting posted for this week.

      Finally, volunteers are needed to fill current openings on Town
      boards, committees and commissions, and appointments that expire on
      June 30. Applicants are needed for the following:

      Personnel Board
      Finance Committee
      Housing Partnership
      Route 30 Development Committee
      Surface Water Quality Committee
      Wayland Channel Local Access Board
      Nike Site Reuse Advisory Committee

      To apply, contact Mary Ann in the Selectmen's Office 508-358-3621, or
      send a resume and letter of interest to Board of Selectmen, Wayland
      Town Building, 41 Cochituate Rd., Wayland MA 01778.

      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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