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Tell us what you think about Wellesley's school

Posted by David Dahl, Regional Editor May 22, 2008 07:33 AM

Wellesley's town building committee approved a new high school project last week. Here is a past story on the vote and here is a second story that details the debate in town.

What do you think about the new school and the others underway in Massachusetts?

19 comments so far...
  1. Seems like Norwood has the right idea to build a new High School for 80 million. Why would any town want to spend 200 million on a high school project only to oppose a 12 million override to ensure they keep their teachers on. I guess Newton doesn't have one of the best school systems any longer. As for Wellesley hopefully before they plunge down a black hole the will realize 160+ million is just too much. I dont care how much money you make the burden these days on everyone is crushing. Move to Norwood -- great community and low taxes. Maybe we will hire those laid off Newton teachers.

    Posted by chris May 22, 08 09:15 AM
  1. The schools are getting classier, more modern, very expensive, yet all this has nothing to do with the education children are receiving. One has nothing to do with the other. Good, devoted, well-paid, teachers can educate while standing under an umbrella or sitting in a field!!

    Posted by Dan May 22, 08 09:19 AM
  1. I think it is a terrible waste of money (and I am mother of one current and one former Wellesley High Student). Unfortunately my fellow towns people and members of PTA are looking at this to satisfy their ego, and fill up developer's bank account, and not thinking twice about the betterment of education quality or our children. I much rather see more academic programs in science, math and foreign language than this colosal waste of money. But the voice of folks like me does not get heard in a town run by real estate brokers and former super moms!

    Posted by Afarin Bellisario May 22, 08 09:37 AM
  1. i live in wellesley, and it is in need of a new high school..

    Posted by irene May 22, 08 09:43 AM
  1. It's just one more super divide between the haves and the have-nots and a way to make the people from Wellesley feel superior to the rest of the people in the state.

    If your budget say $160 million you will surely spend $200 million and your kids will be no smarter than they were before.

    I feel for the "regular" people in Wellesley and Newton. They get swept up with those who just can't stop thinking bigger and better.

    Posted by Nancy May 22, 08 09:53 AM
  1. The students at the high school in my community went on strike a couple of years ago because the temps in their classrooms were near freezing. The said they would attend classes only if the superintendent sat with them through class in the worst rooms.

    Classes were cancelled the next day. And while the grade and middle schools are now safe and new and complete, the high school and voke are still big massive dumps, with inadequate ventilation and restroom facilities, stairs where ramps should be, crumbing areas, and absolutely no signage or directionals in any of the wings and few numbers on classroom doors. I'd hate to think what would happen to the place in a real emergency where "those who just know" weren't available to find anything.

    So I don't want to hear about luxury university schools - MIT wasn't that fancy when I went there in the mid 80's, and nobody cared. As long as there are clean and cleanable facilities, up to date services, appropriate temperature control, heat and ventilation, and accountable faculty and administration, and a functional, well-marked layout, who cares about lux interior finishes? This is a clear example of why school districts should be funded on a per pupil-per service basis, not locally funded to create a cult of luxury in rich kids.

    Posted by infoferret May 22, 08 09:56 AM
  1. Cahill's comments about this whole school building mess are right on the mark. Unfortunately he should have made them long before now.

    Posted by kalajen May 22, 08 10:06 AM
  1. Irene,

    Im sure Wellesley is in need of a new high school. As is Norwood. But why spend 80 million above and beyond what Norwood is paying. Obviously Wellesley's may be better or bigger or whatever but really now isnt the $$ better spent on educating and programs rather than a structure? Please see Newton North for example. I would rather my kid by taught by a competent seasoned teacher at 100,000 salary than a newbie from Bridgewater State College earning 30,000 in a better than Newton North buidling. Priorities people.

    Posted by chris May 22, 08 10:10 AM
  1. I attended Wellesley High in the 90s, and it needed major repairs even then.

    Posted by Aristocat May 22, 08 10:12 AM
  1. Why not think outside of the box- smaller neighborhood satellite school buildings and online teaching like many of the universities are already doing to better their student body to professor access? The educational system needs major overhauling in thinking and application and not just bricks and mortar....
    These costs are obscene while MA continues to lose its young educated residents....

    Posted by Rosemary Benavides Williams May 22, 08 10:29 AM
  1. Good facilities are important, unbelievably great facilities are a waste.
    Good teachers are important, great parents are even better.
    Teachers are well-compensated for what they do, despite the fears, uncertainties, and doubts that their unions and the liberal media will have us believe. Great education starts in the home and partners with the educational establishment. Unfortunately, the educational establishment has failed the public on many levels.

    Posted by dude May 22, 08 10:30 AM
  1. I live in Wellesley and have two children in the local schools. Wellesley high school is in need of repair or reconstruction .... BUT... the Wellesley proposal is excessive in scope and cost. Look to Boston Latin and Brookline High as examples of refubishing existing and much larger high schools for much less money than what is proposed for Wellesley. In a few years, when the luster of newly constructed school wears off and requests for tax overrides fail, Wellesley citizens will be kicking themselves as class sizes increase and the quality of day to day instruction in the classroom suffers. Not to mention, from an aesthetic point of view, if an entirely new school is constructed it will eventually be "value engineered" to the point that the end result will leave the next genration asking "what were they thinking" when the town demolished the original 1938 building.

    Posted by Wellesley Dad May 22, 08 10:36 AM
  1. "Cahill called on local communities and their school committees to keep the cost of projects reasonable or risk losing millions of dollars in reimbursements from the state School Building Authority, which he chairs. The authority pays 40 percent to 80 percent of eligible expenses of a project, depending on the wealth of the town and other factors."

    40-80% of the cost is picked up by the State Building Authority for these buildings.
    This money comes directly from the working people of MA.
    In our community, an override passed last year to fund the school system. We have cut all activities down to the bone and lay off teachers just to get by. Class sizes are 30 children. There are not enough desks and books from the 80's are still being used.
    Chapter 70 funding has decreased over the past five years and will continue to do so. Not to mention the cost of fuel for buses and heat for the schools.
    But the state can afford to fund these new schools?
    Our high school uses buckets to catch the rain coming through a leaky roof and the neither the town nor the state can afford a new one.
    Maybe we'll just get new buckets?
    Here's a heads up to the people in Wellesley, A LOT OF SCHOOLS ACROSS THE STATE ARE IN BAD SHAPE.....The state shouldn't give certain communities more than their fare share.
    If the city has the funds for this new school, let the city pay, but I don't want my tax dollars going to a school my children will never attend. I'm tired of it.

    Posted by Mass Mom May 22, 08 11:21 AM
  1. The state fund was well meaning. The intent was to help cities and towns pay for outdated buildings, needed replacements that they could not have afforded on their own (think old WPA buildings, not Newton's 30 year old mess).

    However the fund had poor oversight. Cities and towns of means saw it as blank check to build their dream schools. They were first to the trough because they have means. Schools without means struggled to get there. To its credit the state has fixed things up and will work to help those schools that really need the help, even though their treasury has been raided.
    Once again, good, fair state idea...poor state management, greedy haves.

    Posted by Ed Observer May 22, 08 01:25 PM
  1. The PTA and administration of Wellesley would do well to read Madeline Levine's book, The Price of Privilege. They would find themselves on each page, creating the entitled American citizens of tomorrow. What is the priority - education or "stuff"? Not only are they foolish, but they are teaching that the material is far more important than the educational content. The spirit that has made American youth what it is today - in therapy.

    Posted by K. M. Kennedy May 22, 08 03:20 PM
  1. Needham is finishing their High school for 60m. Now, I understand the need for state of the art, but I have some real questions regarding this project. Needham's choice was to renovate. May be this option really needs to be reconsidered.
    On the other hand...
    Much of this issue has to do with the fact that the state has completely ignored their responsibilities regarding school buildings in this state for many years. School districts never saw this money as a bottomless pit. AND they have been very good about finding ways to build without killing their communities. Wellesley and Newton are exceptions not the rule.
    Tim Cahill is a moron to think that his stonewalling has not added millions of dollars to construction costs. The comment that he wants more teachers is great, except for the fact that many teachers work in substandard conditions and make the most out of it. Step up to plate Tim, let's help get it done...you cost us more by your "Big Brother" attitude. Find a better system, now. You are replaceable.

    Posted by Chicken little worked in my school May 22, 08 04:28 PM
  1. I live in Wellesley and have 2 children in local schools.
    The high school is in need of repair and reconstruction- plain and simple. There is nothing wrong with building a beautiful, state of the art school where teachers and students alike can have what they need to get the best possible experience available to them.
    The fact that Wellesley residents are able to afford it is irrelevant and doesn't necessarily mean they are fulfilling the needs of their own egos. We want our kids to learn in a beautiful and efficient environment. We want to be proud of our schools on various levels. The students education will be enhanced by a facility that can offer them more, spark creativity and make learning that much easier.

    In my opinion, there is something to be said for not just throwing a big cement box up and calling it a day. Taking pride in the facility as well as what goes on inside it is what makes Wellesley a special place to live.

    Posted by Shelly May 23, 08 08:25 AM
  1. I live in Swellesley. The problem is not building a new school--it's the size they're building and how much they're going to spend on it. I've been in the wellesley school buildings countless times and the biggest problem is the maintenance. Conspiracy theorists will tell you that the school committee has purposely let the condition of the buildings slide so there would be no choice but to build new--while I don't believe this is literally true, there's no way to trust the school committee or administration given their history of repeatedly hiding reports, outright lies, etc. The real problem in Wellesley is the simple fact that 85% of the people with kids in the school system will vote for anything that gives more money to the schools and that only 30% of the people without kids in the school will vote at all. Give them credit--the school people are very well organized and mobilize their forces well. By my estimate, I will personally end up paying close to $20,000 for this new albatross of a school if I stay here the full 25 years of the bond exclusion. Guess what--I'll be moving really soon!

    Posted by Jon May 24, 08 02:21 PM
  1. If the cities and towns are really interested in lowering construction costs they should be allowed by the state to request bids from the open shop... non-union construction companies. Public projects [and taxpayers] would save an estimated 20% to 40% if we could have real competitive biddng between union and non-union .

    We have this idiotic requirement which mandates prevailing wages and ONLY union contractors bid on public projects [including schools]. .. any wonder that costs are outa sight!!

    Posted by R.A. Erbetta May 24, 08 06:57 PM
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