The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, November 21, 2008

CCHS to requeue for state building aid

Deputy Superintendent of Finance and Operations John Flaherty told the Concord-Carlisle Regional School Committee (RSC) on November 13 that the Statement of Interest (SOI) for a possible high school renovation needs to be refreshed and sent again to the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA). The data will be generally the same, highlighting: the aging building, overcrowding, lack of adequate spaces for Science, Special Education and the Arts, and New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) concerns. NEASC has called for improved school facilities as part of the periodic accredidation review.

Public schools in the Commonwealth submit an SOI to request partial reimbursement for repairs, renovations or school building replacement. The MSBA reviews the SOIs and decides if it will fund any of the requests. The Concord-Carlisle Regional School District sent in an SOI last year and was put on a “Hold” list. Since then, no further action has been taken by the state.

During the past decade, the CCHS student population rose from 938 to 1268, a 35% increase. According to the SOI, CCHS classrooms have over a 90% utilization rate and there are significant space constraints in the science department, special education and the arts. The space shortage is not expected to disappear quickly as enrollment forecasts show a gradual decline to 1064 by 2018.

The current high classroom utilization creates inefficiencies in scheduling as science classes are relocated or rotated on a regular basis in order to provide lab time for all courses. According to the SOI, the number of science classes offered is limited by the lack of additional space. It was noted that if more space were available, fewer special education out-of-district placements might be necessary. The auditorium only holds 40% of the student population.

The building also has maintenance issues from ordinary wear and tear, which will require ongoing expenditure. Perhaps the most expensive item would be replacing the main roof at an estimated cost of $3.5 million. ∆

© 2008 The Carlisle Mosquito