The city has paid 10.5 million for the former Pope John High School assemblage in North Everett.
Now the city is giving it away to developers promising 140 affordable housing units in return.
This, at a time when the School Department is nearly out of viable options for added classroom space.
The administration has made its decision.
More affordable housing is more important than more classroom space for the city’s public school system.
Any way one chooses to weigh and measure this decision, it is wrong.
Providing an education and making space available for the children of this city to be educated is critical to the city’s well-being.
The city can get along without another 140 units of affordable housing.
It cannot get along if public school students do not have classrooms to be educated in.
Pope John was an educational institution for decades. The assemblage of buildings includes classroom space sufficient to meet the needs of Everett’s public school system.
The argument that the auditorium is not mechanically sound, as presented by the mayor’s chief of staff Erin Deveney at the council meeting last week, is woefully inconsistent with the crying need for added classroom space.
Pope John would be perfect to mitigate the overcrowding of the Everett public schools.
To think otherwise is to spit in the face of reality.
Councilor Mike Marchese has put forward this argument. He is right.
Councilor Darren Costa has raised the question about the city’s lack of cost analysis for this project.
He is right to do so.
There are times when residents should be left to wonder how so simple a decision to use a former school as added classroom space for the EPS is set aside to build more affordable housing.
This is that time.
The creation of an additional 140 units of affordable housing stock is going to add an additional 100-130 students to the bur- geoning population of the EPS.
Pope John’s best use is as school space.