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Battle over space creation keeps Pope John alive in public school overload

Where will the modulars go if finally approved? (Leader Herald Image)

By Josh Resnek

The battle between those who believe Pope John High School should be used to mitigate overcrowding problems facing the public schools continues.

A recent effort by the city to approve $14 million in ARPA funds for modular classrooms failed to pass the city council returning the issue to ground zero once again.

The controversy about which way to go – with an existing former high school used as a middle school with a quick fix up – or with modular classroom units built onto or standing alone at five public schools throughout the city – remains a contentious issue.

It has been longer than a year that the issue has boiled over at repeated meetings of the city council.

What began as an apparent slam dunk with the mayor’s approval to use the Pope John facility for a golden standard rehab went the other way when the mayor changed his mind.

The mayor’s preference to use modular has not yet gone to the point of a fait accompli.

However, as the school population increases, the need for the added space becomes more crucial, all of which makes the battle between Pope John advocates and modular advocates all the more time consuming and frustrating for both sides.

The city has prepared and apparently put out and RFP for the modular but without the funding approval necessary to start the modular program, it has not yet gotten off the ground.

It is hard to imagine the mayor not getting his way with regard to this space issue.

But without the money, nothing is going to happen.

With one school year ending and another just around the corner, it is imperative that more space be added.

Is Pope John still alive as a potential fix?

Not really.

Are modulars a guarantee? Not really.

Something has to give, and soon.

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