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Hearing on Brookline school expansions set for Thursday

Posted by Brock Parker  September 6, 2013 02:56 PM

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The Brookline School Committee will hold a public hearing Thursday about recommendations to expand multiple elementary schools and the high school to accommodate surging enrollment.

The hearing will be held Thursday, Sept. 12, at 7 p.m. on the 5th floor in Brookline Town Hall. The committee’s capital subcommittee has formulated recommendation based heavily on a report from the town’s B-SPACE committee that was appointed to explore how to address enrollment growth.

The school committee is expected to vote on the recommendations at a meeting on Sept. 19, according to the school department.

Last month the B-SPACE committee voted to recommend increasing the size of a $90 million renovation planned for the Devotion School along with a a major expansion of the Driscoll School, and expanding Brookline High School.

The school committee will be considering those recommendations along with others endorsed by its capital subcommittee, including a plan to continue forward with the use four additional modular classrooms at the Lawrence School. The subcommittee is also recommending, as did B-SPACE, that the Pierce School be renovated or replaced after the completion of the other expansions.

According to Brookline school officials, the Kindergarten through 12th grade enrollment has increased by approximately 1,200 students since 2006. The school district has added classrooms in multiple ways, including recent expansions of the Runkle and Heath schools.

But enrollment in Kindergarten through 8th grade schools is expected to increase by another 600 students by 2017, according to the report from the B-SPACE committee. By 2022, the district expects enrollment at Brookline High School to have increased by 600 students, as well.

School officials have estimated that the needed expansions could cost anywhere from $150 to $300 million and the town has established an override committee to explore what sort of property tax increase, if any, should be proposed to voters. In addition to money needed to expand the schools, the town would also need more money to staff the additional space.

--Brock.globe@gmail.com

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