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State to begin school project studies early

Posted October 4, 2007 09:51 AM


The state will begin feasibility studies for local school projects about a month earlier than anticipated, potentially allowing some projects to be ready for Town Meeting votes next spring, staff writer James Vaznis of the reports in the Globe's City & Region Section today.

On Nov. 2, the state School Building Authority will decide which school districts' proposed projects to study first. Other districts will be selected on a rolling basis after that.

Being selected for a feasibility study doesn't automatically guarantee construction funding, but it is a prerequisite. More than a dozen school districts west of Boston are among 161 districts statewide competing for about $500 million in construction funds this year, the first time in four years the state is doling out school construction money.

In choosing which feasibility studies to pursue first, the state has been dispatching inspection teams to analyze building conditions and enrollment trends, visiting 90 districts so far. Those districts include Berlin-Boylston, Franklin, Hopkinton, Hudson, Marlborough, Maynard, Nashoba, Natick, Needham, Norfolk, Shrewsbury, Wayland, and Wellesley.

The resulting studies, which should be completed this winter, will give the state the first glimpse of how much it could potentially cost to do all the projects. In all, 161 districts have expressed interest in 422 school projects.

New superintendent for Berlin-Boylston schools

Posted July 8, 2007 02:39 PM


A former Stoneham Superintendent has been selected as the interim head of the public schools in Berlin and Boylston.

The Berlin-Boylston Regional School Committee voted unanimously last month to hire Joe Connelly who retired from Stoneham after nine years with the district, Chairman Chris Keefe said. Connolly was previously he was superintendent for more than a decade in the regional district that includes Topsfield, Boxboro and Middleton, she said.

Connelly will take over for outgoing Superintendent Marcia Lukon who will leave in August, Keefe said. A Reading resident, Connelly will serve Aug. 13 through the end of June 2008 and will earn roughly $11,000 a month.

-- Jennifer Rosinski

Melican named as interim Tahanto Regional superintendent

Posted May 7, 2007 09:55 AM

Robert Melican
(Globe staff photo by Janet Knott)


The Tahanto Regional School Committee has unanimously named Robert Melican as the districtís interim superintendent while they search for a permanent replacement for Marcia Lukon, who leaves June 30.

The committee has also enlisted the New England School Development Council to conduct the search, said Chris Keefe, vice-chairman of the regional school committee and chairman of the Berlin School Committee. Keefe said the committee hopes to start the search in the fall.

The terms of Melicanís contract are in negotiations, but Keefe said the committee would like him to start by June 30. Melican retired two years ago after 36 years with the Northborough-Southborough schools and previously served as an interim superintendent in Douglas.

Lukon, who was hired in 2003, declined to accept a new contract from the committee. She has been criticized for her budget process and the Boylston Teachers Association hit her with a no confidence vote last year.

-- Jennifer Rosinski

School budget increase suggested for Tahanto Regional

Posted February 22, 2007 06:42 AM


Next yearís Tahanto Regional Middle/High School budget would jump 5.88 percent to $6.7 million, an increase that includes the addition of a math teacher, a special education teacher, and department heads for both science and socials studies, according to Superintendent Marcia Lukonís proposed budget worksheet.

The suggested fiscal 2008 budget for the school that serves students from grades 7-12 in Berlin and Boylston is $371,000 more than the current budget of $6.3 million. The budget, which must be approved by the finance committees in both towns, also includes $38,335 to replace outdated textbooks.

-- Jennifer Rosinski

Build now, library trustees say

Posted February 9, 2007 02:57 PM


The trustees of the Boylston Public Library trustees have opted to pursue building a 12,000 square-foot library, even if it means forgoing state aid, library director Nicholas Langhart said this week.

The trustees had considered putting off the project until 2010, when state would next be offering 40 percent reimbursement. They ended up deciding that if they waited, inflation would drive the cost too high, Langhart said.

The project could go before Town Meeting in October.

-- Matt Gunderson

It's how you play the game ...

Posted January 28, 2007 09:36 AM


Tahanto Regional Middle/High School has been selected to receive a prestigious sportsmanship award within its athletic division.

Coaches within the Midland Wachuset League Division D chose Tahanto to receive the John P. Fahey Sportmanship Award for the schoolís upstanding conduct during the 2005-2006 athletic season. It is the second time Tahanto, which serves students from Berlin and Boylston, has received the award in the past three years.

-- Jennifer Rosinski

Meeting of the (selectmen's) minds

Posted November 27, 2006 09:54 AM


Selectmen from the towns of Boylston and Berlin will meet tonight in Berlin to discuss how to raise state money and divide the cost of renovating Tahanto Regional Middle and High School.

Critics say the school has a leaking roof, an inadequate library, antiquated science labs, and lacks expansion room for important programs like special education. The regional school district recently sent a letter of interest to the state School Building Authority, outlining their desire to replace or renovate the 43-year-old facility.

The two boards will meet at 7:30 p.m. at the town offices on Linden Street in Berlin to talk about the best way to break down the cost of a renovation or addition, if the plan it is approved by the state. The cost of the project has yet to be determined.

-- Jennifer Rosinski

A two-way tussle for selectman in Boylston

Posted October 11, 2006 10:47 AM


The race is on.

Two candidates have pulled nomination papers for a vacant seat on the Board of Selectmen, making for a contested race this fall, Town Clerk Sandy Bourassa says.

Local residents Carrie Neimiec and Kenneth Sydow are both vying for the open seat, which was vacated by Frank Reale, who resigned from the board in June. The winner of the election will serve until next May.

The special election to vote on the candidates is Oct. 25.

-- Matt Gunderson

Boylston man guilty in business sabotage

Posted September 21, 2006 05:45 PM


A contractor pleaded guilty to sabotaging Navy computers that track locations of submarines and ships because his company didn't win another government contract.

Richard F. Sylvestre, 43, of Boylston, Mass., pleaded guilty in federal court in Virginia to one count of damaging protected computers. Sylvestre owns computer company Ares Systems International, which held a contract to provide computer maintenance for the Navy's European Planning and Operations Command Center in Naples, Italy.

Sylvestre told Navy criminal investigators that he programmed malicious software codes into computers at the European Command in May because he was upset that his company's bid on a project at the center was passed over, according to court records.

The sabotage could have caused Navy ships to collide with commercial vessels, but was caught after two computers crashed, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.

Sylvestre faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine when he is sentenced Jan. 18.

-- AP

Taxing questions

Posted September 6, 2006 12:17 PM


William Wingler of Boylston takes on tax pledges and tax cuts in a letter to the editor today:

With all the talk about taxes in this gubernatorial campaign, there is one truth: A vote to reduce the state income tax is a vote to increase your local property tax, which is one of the most regressive taxes we have.

What do you think? Raise 'em? Lower 'em? Make yourself heard or check out other's opinions on the Globe West Message Boards.

Cleaners reassigned

Posted July 16, 2006 09:32 AM


Three janitors who maintained some State Police barracks have been reassigned by their Boylston cleaning company after questions were raised about their immigration status, the Globe reports today.

National Facility Services checked the status of the eight custodians who clean 20 State Police barracks and facilities.

The company's review came after a report on July 2 in The Boston Globe that the company has employed scores of undocumented immigrants to clean government and commercial buildings.

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