School Committee OK’s Mayor’s Plan for Use of Pope John as Junior High

Unanimous Agreement for $76 Million Rehab Offered by the Mayor

By Josh Resnek

A funny thing happened to the School Committee on the way to approving the mayor’s $76 million rehabilitation plan for the former Pope John facility in North Everett.

What had been a School Committee at odds with itself – with at least four members refusing to consider the Pope John School as a viable alternative to dent the overcrowding issue plaguing the public schools – became a School Committee united.

Monday night, the School Committee voted 9-0 to send a resolution to the mayor indicating the SC is completely behind the mayor’s proposal.

The resolution is non-binding, however, the mayor has said if the City Council agrees to Pope John as a junior high school, he would go along with it.

The City Council will have to act as soon as the mayor requests action on the matter.

To this end, several School Committee members insisted that the mayor needs to act decisively, and sooner, rather than later.

“We have an obligation to give the students the safest and best environment. We need to stop talking and to start building. This is important. It is vital to move quickly to send the message that our kids come first,” School Committee Chair Jeanne Cristiano told her colleagues, in a vague but insistent message aimed at the mayor.

The mayor did not respond to the Leader Herald’s request for a comment about when he will order the project to begin.

“this resolution goes to the mayor. It is our purview. At the end of the day this is the way the mayor wanted it to go. This goes to the mayor. We represent the children. It’s not like we’re some kind of outside agency,” Mangan said.

Now the City Council will be awaiting the mayor’s order to appropriate the money.

The City Council has indicated it is prepared to appropriate what the mayor says the city needs to complete the deal and to get it going.

It was in that spirit that the School Committee again went over all the odds and ends about what must be done to the Pope John facility to make it a proper fit for the city’s junior high school children.

A long discussion took place about what is needed to prepare the facility with two experts, Andy Barr and Paul Murphy.

Both admitted the efficacy about what the mayor wishes to do rather than a half done product that some had believed would be sufficient to get the ball rolling.

When the mayor gives the OK, his office will initiate Requests for Proposal (RFP) to be drawn up and to be advertised for contractors to bid on.

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