Uncertainty accompanies questioning about modular units for public schools

Chief of staff Erin Deveney (left) shown with Superintendent Tahiliani Monday discussing modular classrooms. (Photo by Josh Resnek)

By Josh Resnek

Councilors questioned Chief of Staff Erin Deveney and Superintendent of Schools Priya Tahiliani gave some insight to the city council about where the city is at in ordering up modular classrooms for the overcrowded public schools.

By and large the information was sketchy or old or incomplete.

However, discovery is well underway to identify vendors, and lease programs, estimated monthly bills for modular as well options, according to Deveney.

Modulars will be replacing Pope John as the manner in which the city will meet the overcrowding challenge with the public schools.

According to Deveney, modulars can be ready by September quite likely if they are ordered soon by the School Department.

She described a situation where options are right now being searched out and discussed at city hall.

In addition, Tahiliani gave the council insight into the information so far gathered by the School Department.

There was not much new information to report.

Bottom line – very little motion or action has so far been taken to reduce overcrowding in the public schools and the matter remains largely in the discovery process.

“There are no concrete num- bers at this point,” Councilor Al Lattanzi told his colleagues.

Deveney said information was being put together from the School Department and others to know how to proceed.

Lattanzi suggested that information be gathered, that numbers be crunched and then come back to the council for discussion.

So far, this has been the operating method of pushing off the overcrowding issue again and again.

Monday night again, was a push back extending the inertia that has come along with the effort to reduce overcrowding.

The situation has gone on for longer than two years without a solution.

Since the former Pope John High School facility in North Everett was rejected as a possibility to mitigate overcrowding, several months have passed with no real movement forward to place modular classrooms at five school sites.

It was suggested that one modular at one school site could cost as much as $1.5 million to lease for three years and would provide approximately ten classrooms. However nothing was set in stone.

Councilor Darren Costa asked whether the modulars would have bathrooms as well as other design issues and how parking would be affected and where exactly the modulars will be placed and will they have a kitchen.

Deveney said answers would be forthcoming.

The overcrowding issue remains an issue like a can being kicked down a road.

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