It is disconcerting to hear from numerous city officials and players in the ongoing Pope John drama that the mayor may choose to do nothing, rather than to act to reduce overcrowding in the public schools.
The School Committee recently sent a non-binding resolution to the city council asking the mayor to get the ball rolling on the rehab of Pope John so that more than 1,000 of the 1,500 kids now crowded into classrooms that used to be closets and libraries and music rooms can be educated in a seating and teaching situation more conducive to learning than 30-35 student classrooms.
Mind you, the resolution came after several months of agitation and government efforts, city hall protests and speeches by public officials, nearly all of them wanting to act.
Mind you, the resolution came after the mayor got his way, entirely and completely, arguing for a $76 million rehab of the facility to assure its integrity instead of agreeing to the School Department’s $46 million plan to open the school as soon as possible.
Under the rules of government here, which the mayor completely understands, a non-binding resolution is just that – a non-binding resolution.
In other words, the mayor is required to do nothing with a non-binding resolution. It is a bit like an international treaty not recognized by any nations to be real, so in the end, no one pays attention to it.
However, in this case, that is, the case of Pope John to be used as a middle school, we have more than a non-binding agreement.
The mayor gave his word.
He gave his word to the city council that if it is the wish if the council to use Pope John as middle school and to appropriate he can then take all the praise for doing.
The question now arises, will the mayor keep his word?
Or will the mayor sit on the non-binding resolution using it as pocket veto material.
At the end of the day, will the mayor outlast his critics and ongoing Pope John drama that the mayor may choose to do nothing, all of those who favor Pope John being used in return for doing rather than to act to reduce overcrowding in the public schools.
Will he remain silent?
Will he act?
That is up to him.
We urge the mayor to act, to keep his word, to show the people of this city he means what he says.
The mayor owes it to the public school children of this city to act, and act immediately to get this ball rolling.
After all, he can then take all the praise for doing the right thing.
His opponents will be silenced.
His reputation will be bolstered.
Getting the Pope John project going ASAP is a win win for the mayor.
However, the question remains – will he do it?