This site aims to inform and mobilize Beverly parents to take an active role in all issues related to the funding and operation of the city's schools. It was launched in the spring of 2008, when the city saw its first-ever override attempt fail, followed by the closure of a nearly-new elementary school. Subsequent years have seen further cuts that have led to larger class sizes across the district. While the opening of an impressive new high school and plans to replace the city's aging middle school give us reason to be optimistic, the school community must be ever vigilant in demanding appropriate school funding by city and state governments, and better community communications from the district and School Committee.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Is a New Middle School Still on the Horizon?

With a new $81 million high school just nearing completion and the district's operating budget facing annual multi-million-dollar deficits, any hope of a new middle school has seemed, at best, a distant dream.

But according to today's Salem News, the prospect is still alive, and the current batch of newborns at Beverly Hospital could see it in time for their middle school years in 2020.

Mayor Scanlon discussed it recently as part of his long-range capital expenditure plan.
The project would cost an estimated $33 million, a price Scanlon called "very much a ballpark number." Scanlon said he is assuming the state would pay half the cost. The city would sell the current Briscoe Middle School and use the proceeds to help pay for the project.

Scanlon acknowledged that spending on new projects "must be quite modest for several years" due to the debt the city is taking on for the nearly completed $81 million high school project.

But, he wrote, "a review of existing debt runoff indicates the middle school project would be initiated in five years and proceed through design and construction to be complete by FY (fiscal year) 2020."

Scanlon said the Memorial site is the best choice for a middle school because it has 17 acres, three times more than Briscoe, and the building is newer. The Memorial Building was a middle school until 2005, when the city consolidated into one middle school at Briscoe. Memorial is now used to house school and city offices and Northshore Recovery High School.

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