Joint Boards Move Forward to Address Enrollment Growth and Overcrowding in Schools
The Select Board, School Committee and the Ad Hoc Subcommittee to the Advisory Committee met on June 13th to deliberate and vote on the options under consideration for expanding school capacity and addressing Brookline's overcrowded schools and historic enrollment growth. All members of the combined boards discussed numerous options at length. Among many issues, the members raised the need to identify solutions that are on town-owned land, that include renovation needs in existing schools, and address enrollment growth that is happening in North and South Brookline. The board's deliberation was the culmination of the 6 month Alternative Site Study which include more than 20 public meetings, the consideration of 20 initial options and 14 final options, six public listening sessions, public hearings, and the work of five town departments and HMFH Architects. This Alternative Site Study is a continuation of the nearly eight-year process of addressing Brookline's historic enrollment growth through site selection studies, enrollment projections, a feasibility study, expand in place efforts that have built 60 classrooms in our existing buildings, and more than 60 public meetings in just the last three years alone.
The question in front of the boards was to decide on a single site or a multiple-site option to expand school capacity and address Brookline's overcrowded schools and historic enrollment growth. After more than two hours of discussion and deliberation the Select Board, School Committee and Ad Hoc Subcommittee voted in favor of expanding and renovating the Driscoll School to become a four section school (four classes at each grade level); studying a Baldwin School that would have two sections and include pre-school classrooms, a district special education program, and a district-wide native language support program; and reaffirming the April 3 decision to apply to request partnership with Massachusetts School Building Authority to revnovate the Pierce School. As directed by the November Special Town Meeting vote, this decision means that the Town will begin a study to determine the feasibility of renovating and expanding Driscoll into a four section school and engage in a study to determine the feasibilty of Baldwin as a two section school with specific district programs. The School and Building Departments will also continue their efforts to engage with the MSBA to renovate the Pierce School.
For meeting summaries of all public meetings related to the 9th School Alternative Site Study, site selection meetings going back to 2015, and all related materials, presentations, and studies, please visit the 9th school website.