The Everett School Committee voted unanimously Monday night to once again submit a Statement of Interest to the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) in an effort to get state assistance to expand Everett High School.
According to Assistant Supt. Kevin Shaw, this will mark at least the fourth time in the last several years that the Everett school department has requested this assistance from the MSBA.
However, Shaw noted that the inclusion in their application of the district’s desire to return Chapter 74 vocational programs to the district is both a significant difference in this year’s application and something that the state has been signaling its support for.
“We are experiencing and will continue to experience significant overcrowding in the high School and we’re hoping that state will help us with that,” said Shaw. “But new this year, we are also including the need of space for Chapter 74 vocational programs and that is something the state has been looking favorably upon.”
According to the Statement of Interest, the Everett High School was built with a capacity for 1,800 students, but currently has 1,982 students attending classes there. Additionally, birth trend data and studies conducted by the consulting firm Resources Management estimates a projected high school population of 2,458 by the year 2027.
At the same time, the School Department is in the process of bringing six vocational shops back into the district, including culinary, machine technology, carpentry, hospitality, marketing and health assisting. However, the district eventually wants to be able to add additional vocational shops to the curriculum and will need space to be able to do so.
According to Shaw, the Statement of interest is due to the MSBA in April and typically the district learns if they will be invited to move into the feasibility phase in June or July.
Shaw also noted that the district’s Statement of Interest for the high school project will have no impact on the on-going process for a new elementary (K-8) school. The school and city are already in the feasibility phase of exploring where to site a new K-8 school in Everett and that process will continue to move forward.
- Everett Center for Learning
The Everett School Department is working with the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) with the intent to establish the Everett Center for Learning at the old Everett High School building on Broadway.
According to information shared with the School Committee Monday night by Director of Special Education Michael Baldassarre, the program is aimed at serving the needs of approximately 23 Everett students who currently attend programs in out-of-district placements, for with severe autism spectrum disabilities, who could be brought back into the school district and educated in the city.
The program would be established with all of the educational and supportive services these students require with the ability to serve up to 40 such students when completely activated.
Construction or build out of the space will take place this coming summer (2018) and will involve renovation of the first floor handicapped accessible space.