We have just finished the first phase of a very difficult community decision. Tonight the School Building Committee leadership will be presenting their recommendation to the School Committee, and the School Committee will begin their deliberations. The meeting will be televised starting at 7 p.m. and will be repeated several times. I hope you will watch. This will be a public process, and it will be comprehensive.
I just want to take a moment, since we have reached this point in the process, to thank Superintendent Taymore for all she has done to get us to this point. She has made our children’s education her first priority. As the chief executive of the city, it is my role to consider the many financial issues as well as the big picture. It is City Planner Denise Gaffey’s job to study the construction issues and costs. Superintendent Taymore has always been the voice of the students throughout this process. I can’t speak highly enough of her advocacy and her open mindedness, as well as the way she articulated for the School Building Committee that the prefabricated classroom option is the best for the children, for educators, and for the future of the city. I also want to praise Denise Gaffey, who has led this city through countless exemplary projects with little fanfare. We are very fortunate to have a person of her ability and expertise working for the citizens of Melrose. She is exceptional in what she does.
As we take another step forward in this process tonight, I would like to leave you with Superintendent Taymore’s statement, which summarizes where we are:
“For two years, since the initial jump in Kindergarten enrollment, we have been involved in a careful study of the issue and our options. John Scenna, Denise Gaffey, and the members of the School Building Committee have been supportive partners and a great sounding board as we explored all our options, beginning first with capturing current space, then moving onto discussion of a module at just one building, then to examining the Beebe, then to fleshing out the 5/8 model, and finally to returning to an expanded module option. It has been a tremendously informative process and, as someone has said, a great problem to have, because it confirms that Melrose is a great place to live.”
As we move forward, I ask everyone to remain engaged and to follow the deliberations of the School Committee and the Board of Aldermen. Thank you for participating in our inquiry session last Saturday and thank you to our Superintendent of Schools, Cyndy Taymore, and her senior staff for being the educational leaders that they are.