At tonight’s City Council meeting, I will have the honor of casting my vote to support the construction of a new Fuller Middle School and sending the project to a ballot vote on December 11.
Without a doubt, this will be the most important Council vote in Framingham’s short history as a city.
It is my hope that the Council will be unanimous in its support – just as the Finance Subcommittee was last week.
As a proud graduate of the Framingham Public Schools and parent of two current FPS students, I know that Framingham’s long-standing commitment to our
school system serves as one of the finest traditions in our community.
Education has always been at the core of what Framingham values and this project will help to maintain that tradition as we approach the end of our first year as a city. The current Fuller building is failing and is simply inadequate to meet the needs of the students and the educational program at the school.
I remember that in my senior year of high school 1990-1991, the North High campus was selected to be the site of the merged Framingham High School primarily because it was in better condition and, yet, more than 25 years later the South High building is still in operation as a middle school. The talented administrators, teachers, and students of Fuller deserve better.
In addition, as a technology specialist who works every day in a middle school in Holliston, I know that the proposed design for the new Fuller school will be a perfect complement to the STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts & math) focus of the curriculum there. It will offer 21st century technology, help make learning visible to connect students with one another, provide an auditorium and gym that will bring students together to celebrate their successes, and help turn the McCarthy/Fuller campus into a true community resource.
There are also financial reasons to support this project. Without a new school, we will have to pour funds into the facility just to maintain the status quo. Even with millions spent in remediation and repair, a new school will eventually be needed – and construction costs will increase over time. In addition, there is no better time than the present in particular because the state will provide about $39 million to support the project, and Town Meeting also set aside $8 million in anticipation of this moment, which will offset a significant portion of the final cost to the taxpayer. These state funds are available to us after years of preparation, organization, and
transparent planning by our School Building Committee and if the December 11th vote fails, state resources would not likely be available again for a decade or more.
Nonetheless, many of our taxpayers – individuals and businesses – are struggling under the current tax burden and I recognize that this is a real problem. This project will produce an average residential tax increase of $100/year and so it is absolutely essential that the Council and the Mayor continue to find ways to reduce spending and identify additional sources of revenue. As a member of the council’s finance subcommittee, I know that we will have 5 councilors dedicated to that exact task over the coming months. It is also important to note that we do expect a return on this investment. Data consistently demonstrates that homeowners in
communities that invest in education see greater increases in property values.
Beyond considerations about the facility and the finances, this project will ultimately be about the education of Framingham’s students. A world-class school, which the new Fuller will represent, will change the educational prospects of 500+ students per year for decades to come.
Ultimately, that is what this project is all about – providing every child in Framingham with an appropriate school environment and the necessary resources to succeed.
Years of planning, community meetings, and a thoughtful collaborative approach now approach the final phase. With your support and engagement we can bring $39 million of state funding to Framingham and make a clear statement about our commitment to support future generations of Framingham residents.
If you are interested in learning more and offering your support, visit the Yes for Fuller website at www.yesforfuller.com and put December 11 on your calendar.
City Councilor, District 3