Seekonk Public Schools - Letter from School Committee Chair
Discussions around space at the elementary school level began in 2015. Together, the School Department and School Committee have openly explored numerous reconfiguration options all while taking into consideration class size and enrollment projections, indoor and outdoor environmental quality of every facility, travel distance to/from school, travel distance and flow within each building as it relates to teaching and learning and maximizing all available space, traffic, parking and bus flow, future programming, capacity of each septic system, location and condition of boiler system, displacement of site features, disruption of school during any renovation or construction, costs, code compliance, long term building use, maintenance, impact on operating expenses, etc. A Task Force was formed to begin the exploration. The School Department obtained enrollment predictions from NESDEC. According to NESDEC we are currently 65 students over planned occupancy at the elementary level and the most recent report indicates overall student enrollment to increase by 700 students over the next 10 years. We’ve conducted facility studies, produced concept plans, researched re-organization and re-configuration of existing space as well as conducted surveys and focus groups with administrators, educators, parents and the community. We retained our Architect of Record to research and facilitate continued discussions and conduct a comprehensive feasibility study. The School Department paid for the feasibility study out of its operating budget. Ultimately an independent community Ad Hoc Committee was formed to vet the final options. These options were also presented to the Town Quad Board.
On October 3, 2018 the School Committee unanimously voted to accept the Ad Hoc Committee report and proceed with their recommendation to design and construct a 10 classroom addition to Aitken Elementary School. The first step to this permanent solution is to secure Design and OPM services. Please consider attending Seekonk’s Fall Town Meeting on Monday, November 19, 2018 at 7pm. A “yes” vote to Article 11 will authorize the Town to take out a bond for the OPM & Design services and the Town will make the debt payments out of the Town operating budget. This article will NOT be a debt exclusion and will NOT require a proposition 2 1/2 override and subsequent ballot vote and it will NOT increase taxes. For additional information please refer to the project Frequently Asked Questions. This project is unanimously recommended for town approval by the Board of Selectmen. This project also includes the deferred maintenance recommended by the town’s Capital Improvement Committee (boiler replacement, etc.) that will extend the useful life of the school to preserve our assets. This is the next step in relieving the overcrowding at the elementary level. Thank you very much for your continued support of the Seekonk Public School system.
Seekonk School Committee Chair