Modular classrooms

The city is set on adding modular classrooms wherever it can, except for at the high school (unless space can be found for such classrooms).

The cost will be about $14 million, give or take a few million.

The result will be that overcrowding at most of the smaller public schools will be alleviated while overcrowding at the high school awaits a different fate.

Residents here with children, many of them, do not want their children packed into modular classrooms, or so is the claim by several councilors, led by Councilor at Large Stephanie Smith.

Smith refused Monday night to vote for the $150,000 the city requested (and which it got by a 6-4 vote) for an analyst to head the beginnings of the complex operation that will lead to the placement of the modular.

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The emergence of Stephanie Smith as a politician looking to head higher

By Josh Resnek

Stephanie Smith

Stephanie Smith topped the ticket city-wide last week in the primary.

This is a statement about her growing popularity among a wide variety of voters throughout the city.

Monday night, Smith patiently listened to her city council colleagues discuss with the mayor for longer than a half hour the prospect for a new high school before expressing her exasperation in a powerful venting with remarks she made briefly to the city council.

“I will not vote for the modular classrooms or for this appropriation,” she said emphatically.

“I am not against a new high school and I support the mayor’s effort for a new high school,” she told her colleagues in no uncertain terms.

“But the matter before us the appropriation, not a new high school.”

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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.

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Mayor acts on overcrowding issue; RFP being readied

By Josh Resnek

Modular classrooms are coming.

Mayor Carlo DeMaria announced his administration is proposing to spend $14 million to construct modular classrooms at five city schools presently overcrowded to relieve the situation.

With that announcement Monday night at the school committee meeting, he made it clear the city was now ready to act and would be sending out a RFD to achieve the desired end — the mitigation of overcrowding in Everett Public Schools.

“The modulars won’t be ready in September,” he told his colleagues on the school committee. But what we wants is to get them in place as soon as possible. We don’t want to waste any more time,” he added.

Superintendent of Schools Priya Tahiliani reported there is $3 million in the school budget that was approved Monday night for the modular project.

The mayor said he would work with the school committee and the city council to move the modular project forward as quickly as possible.

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$128 million public schools budget ratified unanimously

By Josh Resnek

Everett Public Schools spending in fiscal year (FY) 2024 is set at $128 million, an increase over 2023 spending of almost $20 million dollars.

The schools budget was approved unanimously without much discussion during Monday night’s school committee meeting.

Mayor Carlo DeMaria asked the bulk of the questions about the 2024 budget without any fanfare.

The Everett High School budget topped the ticket – so to speak.

In FY2024, the EHS budget was set at $25 million up from $22 million in 2023.

In FY2024 the Lafayette School is the second most expensive EPS facility to operate.

In FY2024 it will cost $11.7 million for the school as compared with a 2023 cost of $11.3 million.

However, it is the administration of all the public schools which is the most costly item in the new budget.

That cost for FY2024 is $40.7 million as compared with 2023 which came in at $27.1 million.

Custodial managerial salaries have gone from $0 in FY2023 to $300,000 in 2024.

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