Pope John In Play

Councilor Stephanie Smith and Superintendent Priya Tahiliani made solid arguments to explore and or to use the former Pope John High facility as a substitute new school to relieve overcrowding.

So too, did Councilor Mike Marchese.

Councilor Wayne Matewsky said he agreed. So too did Councilor Richard Dell Isola.

Marchese pleaded for the kids and all the others asked for the children to be taken care of.

Councilor Darren Costa said using modular classrooms to relieve overcrowding was not an optimum model for adjusting our strategy.”

Former Councilor Fred Capone also had strident words about the failure to use Pope John as a school would be a failure.

The city council put off funding for modular classrooms at the Keverian School which would have housed 200 students at a cost of more than $2 million, a partial fix that would do little to alleviate a school system wide overcrowding situation that worsens by the month.

The question should have been how far can $4 million go to make the former Pope John proper enough to house students again to relieve citywide overcrowding?

Smith asked the right question: “ What’s the bare minimum to get done what must get done to make Pope John available?”

The bare minimum amount is an answer the mayor’s chief of staff Erin Deveney resisted at every juncture.

The chief of staff made the point that a full rebuilding of Pope John could be necessary and that is very expensive.

No kidding.

But Pope John does not have to be totally rehabbed to successfully accommodate hundreds of Everett school students who are stuffed into classrooms like sardines in a can.

“How do we get the kids in as fast as possible so we can alleviate the problem at the high school and at the other schools without spending $350 million?” Smith asked Deveney.

“Pope John doesn’t entirely solve the problem but at least it solves part of the problem,” Tahiliani added.

Deveney’s lecture on why Pope John should remain for affordable housing indicated her allegiance to the mayor and not to common sense.

In Everett language, her bent reasoning was ridiculous given the need right now for added classroom space and the administration’s inability to grasp this fact.

Added classroom space is needed more urgently than affordable housing – even though affordable housing is needed.

The city council showed some resolve when faced with Deveney’s predictable doubletalk intended to support the man who pays her.

Deveney said if Pope John was used as a school it wouldn’t produce tax revenues.

Maybe all the schools should be disbanded and turned into housing developments?

We’re with Smith, Tahiliani, Marchese, Matewsky and even Dell Isola.

Overcrowding must be relieved.

Every school student is owed a classroom and a desk, a library and an art room, a gymnasium and all the accoutrement that go along with running a decent school system.

It’s the law – even in a place like Everett.

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