The city is planning a series of five forums to allow residents to weigh in on whether the proposed new middle school should include fifth-graders.
The forums will be held at each of the city’s five elementary schools starting next week. Mayor Mike Cahill said the meetings will allow people to express their opinions before the School Committee votes on the school’s configuration on Feb. 26.
“My goal is that we have the public as involved in the process as we can on this over the coming four weeks,” Cahill said.
The city is planning to build a new middle school at the site of the former Memorial Middle School at 502 Cabot St. One of the major considerations is whether to move fifth-graders from the elementary schools into a grade 5-8 middle school, or whether to keep the current grade 6-8 configuration.
Cahill said the Massachusetts School Building Authority, the state agency that is working with the city on the school’s design and funding, has urged the city to decide soon in order to help meet the goal of a September 2017 opening.
“The MSBA staff believes that is a very challenging date for us to maintain, but it’s not a timetable I want to retreat from,” Cahill said. “Our ability to open that school as soon as possible is important.”
The forums will be conducted by Interim Superintendent Albert Argenziano, Briscoe Middle School Principal Matt Poska, Cahill, School Committee task force co-chairs Annemarie Cesa and Kris Silverstein, Special Education Administrator Stacy Bucyk, and the principal and adjustment counselor of the host elementary school.
School Committee task force members Cesa, Silverstein and David Manzi are scheduled to visit middle schools in Lynnfield, Swampscott and Wakefield, all of which have the 5-8 model that would be new to Beverly.