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Local News

December 16, 2013

Selectman wants Prep to contribute in lieu of taxes

Thorny issue in Danvers, where school has strong ties

(Continued)

Over the years, St. John’s Prep has contributed in other ways, including serving as a polling place for voters until a few years ago, when the town decided to consolidate polling places.

“We value our relationship with the town of Danvers,” said Edward Hardiman, headmaster of St. John’s Prep, in a prepared statement. “We’ve always worked closely with town officials, and we are committed to being a positive presence in the community.”

Danvers Youth Soccer uses the field at Brother Linus Athletic Commons in the spring and summer, and Danvers High’s theater program used the school’s auditorium while Danvers High was under construction in recent years. The school has collaborated with Danvers High faculty on professional development programs. And the Prep’s campus serves as the evacuation site for Smith Elementary School, which is near the campus.

In the past, the Prep’s facilities have been used for such events as a firemen’s ball, a location to take police promotional exams and the annual Hospice Walk. Forbes said the school is willing to entertain requests from the community to use its facilities.

“If we are asked, and if we can do it, we will,” she said.

Students also contribute volunteer time, visiting residents of Putnam Farms Senior Living on Summer Street and volunteering for Northeast Arc, which serves people with disabilities. Proceeds from concerts by the Prep singing group Swingtown! benefit the Danvers People to People Food Pantry.

But Clark said the town could use money. And with the Prep’s planning to add a middle school, he thinks the school should help pay for a traffic light at the busy intersection of Summer and Maple Streets (Route 62).

“I think it’s time they step up a little bit, especially if they are going to expand and put another school up there,” Clark said.

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