5 thoughts on “Several Options for New High School, All Have Some Headaches

  1. To Jack Graham,

    Some more background for you on this. Because Watertown neglected the public schools for so long they are now faced with having to rebuild or renovate 4 of the 5 schools at the same time essentially. Had we planned better and paid more attention to our schools many years ago we could have done one school at a time and applied for federal money for each through the MSBA. Instead we are paying for the three elementary schools to be renovated and will need a substantial tax increase voted on for the high school. Again, had we planned better we would have renovated one school at a time with funding help from the MSBA for every school.

    We already pay quite a bit in taxes so trying to get the residents to vote YES on another increase may be a tough sell. Belmont residents voted yes to a new school and they are just now starting to see how high their taxes have increased to pay for it, the range is upwards of 25% increase. OUCH.

    The big difference between the two towns is that Belmont has far more families in town and they want to see the new school for their own kids. Watertown doesn’t have that demographic nor can the average resident handle another tax increase. The other big difference between the two towns is that Belmont has always had a highly regarded school system with high standards. Watertown has never had that nor has never had that reputation. A fancy new school isn’t going to help if you don’t raise the standards and fix what is happening between the four walls of each school.

  2. The options for the new high school presents a number difficult options for the building committee and the Town’s administration. In addition to the siting of the school, the committee needs to make sure the school is the appropriate size for the projected enrollment. The numbers presented by Mr. Dunlap, indicate that at its current size is 13% greater than that recommended for 720 students, or nearly $23M above the MSBA guidelines. That assumes that Watertown can convince the MSBA can accept the over 40,000 SF of space planned for Vocational Education, Special Education and Core Academic areas. There is a lot to do in the process and it is just starting.

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