MSBA Grant Cannot Be Used for Compromise K-3 School at Fruit Street

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Town officials have received a response from the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) to their August 16th letter. The MSBA letter states that the existing grant cannot be re-purposed to build the existing Fruit Street design as a PreK-3 building, but keeps the door open for future collaboration on a solution for Center School.

In March 2011, Hopkinton voters rejected the proposal to build a new, districted K-5 school at Fruit Street at both a Special Town Meeting and at the polls. On June 16, 2011, the HPS received a letter from the MSBA. The letter explained that if the town wished to proceed with MSBA grant support, it had two options. The first option was to start over with a new Statement of Interest, self-fund a new Feasibility Study, and develop a new proposal which the community supports, in which case the MSBA would consider putting Hopkinton back in the funding pipeline.

The second option was to successfully garner the community’s support, by March 2012, for the “same” project rejected by voters in the spring, in which case the district would still be eligible to make use of the $14.5M grant that had been available in March 2011.

MSBA RESPONDS TO HPS INQUIRY

On August 16, 2011 HPS Superintendent Dr. Jonathan Landman submitted a letter to the MSBA to explore what the MSBA meant by “the same project,” i.e., to ascertain whether the existing MSBA grant might potentially be applied to a compromise project: a less expensive version of the building rejected in Spring 2011, housing a PreK-3 population instead of the K-5 population originally proposed.

At the close of the day Friday, September 16, the district received a two-page response from the MSBA. According to Dr. Landman, “The MSBA makes clear that the existing MSBA grant cannot be used to build the existing Fruit Street design for use as a PreK-3 school. However, the letter also leaves the door open for Hopkinton to continue working with the MSBA towards a solution to the Center School.”

Over the coming days,” says School Committee Chair Jean Bertschmann, “the School Committee and Board of Selectmen will be reviewing the letter and discussing its implications for moving forward. We are committed to finding a solution to the problems at the Center School facility.”

According to Dr. Landman, “The MSBA’s response is very helpful. It makes clear that the schools must continue to reach out and listen to the community, to thoroughly research the possibilities, and to develop a proposed solution to the Center School problem that has strong, broad-based support. I look forward to working with the School Committee, the Board of Selectmen, the entire Hopkinton community, and the MSBA in resolving ongoing facility needs at both Center School and other schools in the District.”

The MSBA’s September 16th letter has been posted on the HPS District website .

For additional information, contact: Dr. Jonathan Landman Superintendent at [email protected]