Ipswich school plan faces roadblock

The Boston Globe | By David Rattigan
September 2, 2016

winthrop-eleThough the site for a new townwide elementary school in Ipswich appears to have been selected, the committee tasked with planning the 775-student facility has called a time out to reconsider.

At its most recent meeting, the School Building Committee decided to write a letter to the Board of Selectmen, the School Committee, and the Finance Committee asking how to proceed after two of three sites — the Doyon School and Bialek Park, both on Linebrook Road — were taken off the table. That leaves only the Winthrop School on Central Street, which would either be rebuilt or renovated.

“I think most [on the committee] agree that there’s no purpose to go forward without instructions from the other committees about what they want to see, or what they want to do,” said Kevin Murphy, who has chaired the School Building Committee for two years. “We’ve produced data, we’ve produced information, and it’s not very clear that anybody’s actually read what was put together or that anybody took the process seriously.”

Ipswich currently has two elementary schools, both more than 50 years old: the Winthrop and the Doyon. A proposal to rebuild or renovate the Winthrop has received initial approval from the Mass. School Building Authority, which could fund as much as 49 percent of the project.

According to the town’s timetable, Town Meeting in the spring, followed by a townwide vote, will consider a debt exclusion — a temporary property tax hike for the length of time it takes to pay off the debt — to fund Ipswich’s portion of the project.

But the disagreement between town leaders over the site has put that timetable – if not the entire project – in jeopardy.

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