In Favor of Replacing Center School

contribute's picture

Center School needs to be replaced. Cramped quarters have forced specialists and their desks into hallways. The heating system is so inconsistent and antiquated that students have to wear coats in some rooms and T-shirts in others. There's not enough parking for staff, let alone parents and visitors. The bus loop is a traffic hazard on Ash Street and a safety hazard for children playing on the playground. We moved to Hopkinton because of the quality of the school system, and the teachers and administrators have validated that decision by making our daughter's kindergarten year a positive experience from Day 1. It's not fair that they should have to work so hard to overcome their surroundings.
The school configuration has become a large part of this debate. Studies by educational researchers and school districts show that the neighborhood school model is superior, that frequent transitions between buildings puts unnecessary strain on students and teachers alike, and that academic performance suffers as a result. The only reason the current school model has remained in place is that Hopkinton's rapid growth outpaced our ability to make the necessary improvements and expansions. The School Committee determined in 2002, and re-affirmed in 2009 and 2010, its preference to move to a neighborhood school model as soon as facilities permitted. This issue is about doing what's right for our children, replacing Center School and going to an academic model that supports better learning.

The simple reality is that immediate action is necessary to replace the grossly inadequate facility that is Center School. We are in an advantageous position right now as the state is providing reimbursement for 45% of the project making the cost of this project as reasonable as it will ever be. There has been ample time and opportunity for opponents of the neighborhood school model to voice their opinion but they have only chosen to do so now when it would jeopardize a needed upgrade to our schools. Hopkinton’s schools are a strength of the town. Our teachers and administrators have vaulted us into the top 25 performing districts in Massachusetts. I for one am excited to imagine what they could do without the constraints of such an antiquated facility. At the town meeting on March 21 we need to stand up and acknowledge the great work that these educators have done for our children and ask them to do even better by removing the obstacles presented by Center School. I hope as many people as possible will come out to support this necessary upgrade. Our youngest schoolchildren should not go to a school with health and safety concerns. We owe them more than that.

Jon Graziano
Valentine Road
Hopkinton, MA