School or Housing?

There is a great deal of well- intentioned debate about the future use of the former Pope John High School property.

Many Ward 3 residents are up in arms about the city’s plans to sell the property so that it can be turned into affordable housing, which, frankly, is badly needed in this city.

The real estate boom has caused rental and purchase prices for property to go through the roof.

Despite interest rates rising, prices have not fallen and the need for housing that is affordable is continuing its starling upward trajectory.

At the same time, the Everett Public Schools need more classroom space to house a student population well over 7,000 in the present array of school buildings which are all bursting with students, with more students than places to put them.

This had led to a situation now playing itself out as the new school year approaches.

Some classes will have as many as 35 students in them.

Most classes will be in the range of 30 students.

Educators and parents understand that classrooms so crowded with students make teaching a near impossible task.

Because of this, and the continuing effects of the post pandemic world on teaching, the Everett Public Schools is short of teachers.

It is more short of classroom space and desks for students than it short of teachers.

Pope John could be made ready for students almost overnight.

There are classrooms in abundance and space for hundreds of students.

Officials claiming Pope John cannot be brought up to standards to meet code as a school frankly have no idea what they are talking about – and in so doing – reveal they have no comprehension or much care for the serious situation existing in the public schools with overcrowding.

The city must immediately act to provide more classroom space or it will be presiding over a school system that ultimately fails.

The crying need for more classroom space is, we believe, a more compelling issue than the need for affordable housing.

We do not presently have families living in the street because of the need for affordable housing.

We do have students attending classes in storerooms.

That says it all as far as we’re concerned.

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