FRAMINGHAM – Last night, the Framingham School Committee voted unanimously to endorse the ballot question on the Fuller Middle School Building Project and encouraged the community to vote Yes for Fuller! on December 11.
The Framingham Legislative Delegation also expressed their support for the project during the meeting. These endorsements come after the recent vote by the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) Board of Directors to approve the Fuller Middle School Project and an estimated Total Facilities Grant of $39.5 million to help fund the project.
This approval is a final step in the multi-year approval process the City and Framingham Public Schools needed before a debt exclusion election scheduled for Tuesday, December 11. The total cost of the project is $98 million.
If approved, the existing Fuller Middle School will be replaced with a new facility equipped to support Framingham’s 21st century educational curriculum and facility needs.
“A strong community requires quality public education to succeed and grow,” said Donna Kilcoyne Orthoefer, King Elementary School parent and Chair of Yes for Fuller! “A big thank you to our state legislators and School Committee for their overwhelming statement of support on why this project is so important. Our community has a one time chance to vote Yes on December 11th in order to bring this state funding to Framingham so we can build a new school to last for generations.”
“This is a generational opportunity to ensure a fiscally responsible, first-class learning environment for the students and teachers of today and tomorrow,” said Senate President Karen E. Spilka. “Simply put, this is the right project for Framingham at the right time. I’m proud of the collaborative leadership the City of Framingham has demonstrated, and grateful for the support and partnership of the MSBA for this critical project.”
“Our children deserve to receive a 21st century education in buildings that encourage exploration and advancements in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and the arts,” said Jack Patrick Lewis, State Representative, 7th Middlesex District. “This opportunity to partner with the Massachusetts School Building Authority helps ensure that future Fuller Middle School students receive the education they deserve. I hope all Framingham residents explore how vital this partnership is, not only to our children’s future, but also the overall health of our city and choose to vote Yes on December 11th.”
“Educating our children is the best investment we can ever make,” said Carmine L. Gentile, State Representative, 13th Middlesex District. “The School Committee’s unanimous support for funding the new Fuller Middle School demonstrates their leadership and commitment to our children’s success. I am grateful for the generous support of the Mass School Building Authority in helping us to create a much needed new school which will provide a great environment for learning.”
“I’m pleased to support the Fuller Middle School project and plan to vote Yes on December 11,” said Maria Robinson, State Representative-Elect, 6th Middlesex District. “Framingham is a community that recognizes that education is key to its success and that all children deserve a quality education in safe facilities. This building will be a leap towards greater equity in our school system, and I am proud to be part of a school system that is working to serve all of our children fairly.”
“Fuller Middle School is a community asset that has potential to not only serve the needs of our teachers and students who will be utilizing the building predominantly, but will also provide an opportunity to benefit Framingham in its entirety,” said Dr. Yvonne M. Spicer, Mayor of the City of Framingham and a Member of the School Committee. “In Framingham, we have always taken pride in the excellence of our schools, and we owe it to ourselves to invest in our growth in the most pragmatic way possible. This proposed project is right for Framingham. I encourage all residents to attend the Community Forums and join the discussion revolving around the Fuller Middle School Building Project for the purpose of staying informed, expressing any opinions or concerns, and understanding the significance that their vote will emanate on the December 11th ballot.”
“This is a gift from the state. We are so fortunate, and I’m enthusiastically voting yes for this,” said Beverly Hugo, Framingham School Committee Member from District 1, in remarks during the meeting. “It’s been the most transparent process for the community. The design you showed tonight is just enlightening. The kids deserve it and they need it, and we need it to keep up with 21st Century learning.”
“It has been a long thought process to get to this point,” said Richard Finlay, Framingham School Committee Member from District 2, in remarks during the meeting. “The Board, Town, and now City has worked extremely hard to get through this process. It has been well vetted. Now it is time to say Yes to this and bring it forward. I full heartedly think that we’ve done the right thing and now is the time to do this.”
“As a former member of the Fuller Middle School Council, I have watched with great pride the wonderful work of Principal Jose Duarte in improving the school climate at Fuller,” said Scott Wadland, Framingham School Committee Member from District 3. “Now as a School Committee member and member of the Fuller Middle School Building Committee I am proud to support this project and ask my friends, neighbors and constituents to join me in voting Yes for Fuller! on December 11th.”
“Together, we have created an opportunity to better support student achievement and educator effectiveness by upgrading old infrastructure decades overdue for a change,” said Adam Freudberg, Chair of the Framingham School Committee from District 4. “Proper infrastructure supports student achievement and impacts our school district’s evaluations, reputation, as well as our city’s desirability, our property values, and our economic growth. Framingham has been chosen for a $39.5 million dollar state grant as part of a unique one time opportunity to access this funding for Fuller and only Fuller. We have been chosen, so let’s seal the deal by voting Yes so Framingham secures that grant.”
“As we get closer to the debt exclusion vote on December 11th, I’m appealing to the residents of Framingham to vote yes to provide our future students and teachers an equitable, transformative and dynamic learning environment,” said Noval Alexander, Framingham School Committee Member from District 5. “For residents that have no children or ties to the public schools this new building will be the crown jewel of civic life and activity for Framingham for many years to come. Saying Yes will more than likely increase the value of your homes due to Framingham being a more desirable destination to live, work and play. Finally, saying yes will save you the residential taxpayer millions of dollars over time because a new building will cost less to maintain, will be energy efficient and code compliant. Saying No will likely trigger unpleasant circumstances for our CIty. Maintaining and repairing the current building will be costly and will divert badly needed funds and attention for other projects across the CIty. The central theme is whether you want to pay less now or pay more later. I urge you to vote Yes because it’s’ the practical and least expensive choice. Thank you.”
“The MSBA process is incredibly impressive, so it is such a wonderful thing to be allied with them,” said Geoffrey Epstein, Framingham School Committee Member from District 6. “The MSBA looks to us for this yes vote and here we are now with the opportunity before us. The City Council, the School Committee, all the state representatives are here saying this is right for Framingham. I’m so enthusiastic about this and hope the rest of the community is too.”
“A vote yes is the best for the children, financially, for the community, for education. Yes is best,” said Tracey Bryant, Framingham School Committee Member from District 9, in remarks during the meeting.
Over the course of the planning process, the School Building Committee held 28 Committee meetings and hosted multiple community forums, all open to the public. The next series of community forums before the December 11th election will be held November 17 at 2 p.m. in the McAuliffe Branch Library, on November 26 at 1 p.m. at the Callahan Senior Center, and Community Forum #10 on Wednesday, November 28, 2018 from 6-8 p.m. at the Fuller Middle School.
Additional information on the project and a detailed Frequently Asked Question section can be found at www.fullerbuildingproject.com
Yes for Fuller! was created by a group of Framingham residents in order to advocate for a new middle school in the Framingham School District. In 2013, the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) agreed Fuller was at the end of its useful life and invited Framingham into their selective process to access funding. The MSBA is the state agency charged with overseeing and supporting school improvement projects with state grants and has rigorous standards for communities to balance affordability with each community’s infrastructure needs.
In recent years, a School Building Committee comprised of parents, teachers, engineers, alongside government and elected officials, has met more than 25 times in public meetings with public input considered to propose, revise, and finalize plans for Fuller. The new building will replace an aging facility not currently supporting our students, educators, and community. A new Fuller will be built to last 70-100 years, was designed to meet educational requirements, will be energy efficient, and reduce neighborhood traffic
Yes for Fuller! is a fiscally responsible, community driven initiative that will invest in our future. Guiding Yes for Fuller! is a team of volunteers which includes parents and grandparents of public school students, current and former elected officials and new voices who support education in our community. To read more about the the project and what a Yes vote means, please visit: www.yesforfuller.com
Above was submitted to Source for publication