WVN #19: high school project update
- 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 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
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:
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
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Wayland Voters Network
Margo Melnicove, Chair