Friday, April 21, 2000
Carlisle School clarifies feasibility study request for selectmen
Despite uncertainty about whether the current trend of an increasing school population will continue, Carlisle School Committee representatives urged the selectmen to support Article 16 on the Warrant appropriating $15,000 for a study of school expansion options. "We'd like to be ready to act should, two to three years down the road, the projections continue to increase," said school committee chair David Dockterman.
The study will not determine whether a new school is needed, but will consider what the school's construction options are if the current facility reaches capacity, explained CSC member Paul Morrison. Included in the study would be a determination of space requirements, preparation of a preliminary site analysis for proposed buildings, roadways, parking and playing fields, and a preparation of preliminary cost estimates and a full project budget. Only two sites, the Banta-Davis Land and the hillside between the current school and Spalding Field, will likely be considered as potential building sites in the study.
Not convinced by the demographic studies which project a leveling off of the number of school-age children after a peak passes through the system, the school committee offered their own analysis of the data. Because of its excellent school system, even if there is a "baby bust" Carlisle can expect to continue to attract families in which the parents are determined to move to the best public school system. Secondly, if a house construction slowdown does not happen soon, it will not be in time to put off a pressing need for school expansion since the school is so near maximum capacity now. "It is not so much class size, as the common facilities such as the plaza, gym, art and music rooms and cafeteria which are the most overcrowded," said Morrison.
Offering a long-range perspective, Superintendent Davida Fox-Melanson stated that the discussion of a potential new school facility is part of a larger conversation about the future of the community. Viewing a school as a town resource, the facility could be planned so that any excess capacity can be used for other town purposes.
At their meeting on April 11 at which the school committee presentation was made, the selectmen took no formal position on the Warrant article.
© 2000 The Carlisle Mosquito