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.

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POPE JOHN PRICING

Tahiliani – $40 million; DeMaria – $76 million

Mayor prefers gold standard, Tahiliani pleased with that offer

By Josh Resnek

Last week’s City Council meeting featured the mayor and the school superintendent seated near to one another and their respective school construction consultants discussing two main options on the table, each of them intended to reduce the public schools serious overcrowding situation.

Approximately 1,500 students presently do not have proper space to conduct teaching and are packed into classes with more than 30 students throughout the district.

Music rooms and libraries, and even closets are being used as classrooms by school administrators and teachers to meet the challenge.

Some school corridors are employed as teaching spaces, according to school officials.

The mayor’s consultant suggested a $76 million full rehab for Pope John.

The school department’s consultant said the school could be up and running by spending

$40 million and the school could open earlier. The mayor made himself perfectly and unambiguously clear at the meeting about his preference.

“If it is the will of the council, I will do Pope John but it will be done first class,” he told the council and School Superintendent Priya Tahiliani.

The mayor said he wanted no part of Tahiliani’s construction consultant, Andrew Barr.

It was Barr’s contention that Pope John could open as early as January 2024 without using the “gold standard.”

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Pope John doesn’t need a rehab, politics here needs a rehab

“Don’t believe the mayor’s lie.”

By Steven Pinto

Everett politicians and the mayor are clearly anti-education.

The deliberate inaction of the city to meet the public school overcrowding issue is an embarrassment.

It actually could possibly be an underlying form of discrimination. Everett public school students are only about 19% white.

This leaves 81% non-white students – Blacks, Browns, Hispanics, and numerous other minorities making up the vast bulk of young people in the school system.

We are refusing to properly educate minorities in Everett.

Maybe the Feds need to step in and investigate the issue. Maybe they already are.

There have been too many documented acts of racism in Everett. And not providing safe and proper education facilities could be another act of racism and or discrimination or both.

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“Using Pope John solves part of overcrowding,” Tahiliani claims

Pope John XXIII HS campus. (Photo by Jim Mahoney)

Should ideally be used as a 7th and 8th grade facility; New high school 10 years away

By Josh Resnek

Monday evening’s School Committee meeting was spearheaded by Superintendent of Schools Priya Tahiliani and a seamless presentation she made outlining the most reasonable, affordable and timely reuse of the former Pope John High School.

Mayor Carlo DeMaria did not dismiss the possibility he might change his mind. He even suggested dialogue and meetings and repeated his claim that “my door is always open.”

“I’d love to be Santa Claus,” the mayor said. “There are people starving in Everett,” he claimed. “People can’t pay their taxes. People can’t afford to live here anymore. But I’ll meet with you and go over the plans,” he told Tahiliani.

The mayor did not provide evidence of people starving in Everett. There have been no reports of starvation here. He answered Tahiliani’s opening remarks and confronted School Chair Jeannie Cristiano by saying teaching kids inside closets in the Everett public schools isn’t as bad as what he sees.

“I see kids living in closets every day. Day in and day out,” he said. He did not provide evidence of where he had viewed children living inside closets, or who owned the homes where this was supposedly happening and he did not discuss ordering enforcement efforts, if any, to prevent such situations.

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John Puopolo On Pope John

Guest Editorial By John Puopolo

School Capacity is a major crisis. I hope you had time to watch the School Committee meeting.

As of tonight our mayor provides NO solution or path forward for school capacity relief. He is here for approval for yet another housing development, proposing to tear down Pope John, a turn key school that is a near term solution for capacity.

Tonight the mayor will be pitting the school capacity crisis against affordable housing, veterans and the elderly, while the Mayor will try to have you all believe PJH is NOT an option to help school capacity. He couldn’t be More wrong!

His divisiveness for pitting one against the other as he tries to sell you a totally illogical idea given the city’s current educational dilemma is ludicrous.

The HS is over capacity by 600, Parlin 400, both growing exponentially. Student enrollment levels are not sustainable now or in the future. He offers no capacity solution. A New HS at $500M with the mayors 25% guaranteed over run is 10 to 15 years away you started today. But NO new HS is in motion.

You will hear from school committee member DeMaria who will vehemently defend giving Pope John away for FREE to a developer and saddling residents with the $10M debt. So How can providing unsatisfactory learning conditions be the position of a school committee member? Should be NO seat for him!

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