Friday, March 7, 2008
High school struggles to please accreditation group
This week Concord-Carlisle Regional High School (CCHS) Principal Peter Badalament faced a deadline to send a Special Progress Report to the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) in response to their concerns about the limitations of the CCHS facility. On Tuesday, February 26, Badalament and the Regional School Committee (RSC) discussed the questions raised by the school’s accreditation organization, but found no easy answers.
NEASC continued the high school’s accreditation after inspection in November of 2004, but gave CCHS a list of recommended improvements. Most of those recommendations have been implemented. Nonetheless, in a letter dated November 20, 2007, the NEASC stated it has “ongoing serious concerns related to facilities and space issues.” Concerns about limited classroom space involve significant space constraints in the science department, resulting in relocating classes on a regular basis to provide lab time for all courses. Space constraints placed on the delivery of special education programs and services impact the school’s ability to offer in-school services which results in more out-of-district placements. Other concerns include limited storage, HVAC issues and continual roof leaks. The letter continued, “The Commission recognizes that CCHS is at a crossroads given the fact that there is very limited additional facilities work that can be completed in addressing these concerns unless a major renovation/addition project is undertaken…The Commission will review the school’s accreditation status when it considers the Special Progress Report.”
The RSC and Badalament discussed options for the special report. State reimbursement for a building project is unlikely while the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) has the high school aid application“on hold.” However, because the MSBA has not completed a funding cycle since ending a moratorium on school building projects, the exact meaning and duration of the hold status is not known. Badalament said, “We don’t have any new information.” RSC member Jerry Wedge said, “We will partner with MSBA. We were supposed to meet with MSBA in February, but the meeting was postponed.” RSC member Michael Fitzgerald asked if the NEASC was looking for a capital plan without MSBA support. There was no clear answer. Badalament said he would tell the NEASC “we are waiting to hear more from the MSBA.” ∆
© 2008 The