The current state of our elementary facilities is in decline. A recent facilities needs assessment, conducted by Habeeb & Associates, determined that each of our elementary school buildings has exceeded its useful life, requiring a plan of action to address the structural and programmatic needs of the district.
The annual cost to maintain the Manchester Memorial Elementary, built in 1950, and Essex Elementary, constructed in 1958, is only expected to increase significantly in the short-term. It is, therefore, imperative that MERSD formulate a long-term plan to address our declining elementary school facilities in order to responsibly manage costs and provide students with a safe and environmentally sound learning environment.
The first step in this process is for the School Committee to determine the academic program configuration for the elementary schools. Currently, MERSD utilizes a neighborhood schools model, under which elementary students attend school in their respective towns, in close proximity to their homes. One plan under consideration is to unify the elementary schools into one community beginning in Kindergarten, similar to our current Pre-Kindergarten and Middle/High School programs. Under this model, Essex and Manchester students would attend school together.
This important policy decision impacts students, parents and the community at-large. In order to determine our future course of action, the School Committee has launched a task force/study committee to review the educational implications of the academic program and gather public input on possible solutions. The MERSD administration and School Committee will engage community members in this conversation as it seeks task force members and will continue to inform the school and town populations about this process on its website, at scheduled meetings and through email. To learn more about the Task Force schedule, goals, and responsibilities of participants please visit www.mersd.org. We hope you will consider volunteering.
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