Lynn blocked on school-build funds

LYNN – Despite a comprehensive report detailing the structural concerns surrounding Lynn’s middle schools, the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) did not select Lynn as one of the districts in line for feasibility studies in the coming year, but funding could still come in the future.The MSBA announced 83 schools from a pool of 423 statements of interest that will move on to compete for a slice of the $2.5 billion the state has earmarked for school construction over the next five years.The selected projects represent the schools that were in the most need of structural repair, and were at the highest risk for overcrowding in the eyes of the MSBA. The authority will continue to plan and work with the remaining districts on their statements of interest that are not moved into the feasibility study stage of the process.Of a total of 16 statements of interest from area schools in Lynn, Revere, Peabody, Marblehead, Saugus and Salem, only Marblehead’s Glover Primary School was deemed worthy of further consideration.The Lynn School Department had submitted proposals for all four middle schools, along with the Career Development Center in the Fecteau-Leary building, but due to funding restrictions, the MSBA asked the city to choose which school was the highest priority on the list.The district then zeroed in on the Marshall Middle School, which, despite a recent security upgrade and cosmetic facelift, is in dire need of heating system upgrades, structural repairs and new windows and doors.Marshall is now on “hold” status with the MSBA, meaning that the authority needs to review the plans with the school district.Superintendent Nicholas Kostan indicated Tuesday that he was expecting to see at least Marshall on the list, if not other city schools. When reacting to the news Wednesday, he was less than pleased to see Lynn had been overlooked completely.”We are very disappointed about this, because we put a lot of time, effort and work into that proposal,” he said. “Lynn is a very needy community. Not to take anything away from those communities that were chosen, but I saw a lot of wealthy communities on that list.”The MSBA said that schools not included on the list lacked proper documentation, did not have a long-term plan, or did not present a serious enough situation for immediate consideration, but also indicated that this will not be the end of the line for districts that have been initially overlooked.”We are going to have more of a discussion with districts to clarify some points and get more information,” said MSBA Spokesperson Carrie Sullivan. “The 83 schools that were chosen were the most in need of immediate attention. We are trying to work with every school district over time to get them the funding that they need. In no way does this mean that (other districts) will not receive attention down the pipeline.”The school department spent $33,000 in 2004 for the Merrimac Education Center to study the city’s buildings and demographics, receiving personal advice from former director of the now-defunct School Building Assistance Program, James Anderson.Kostan said the reports were as comprehensive as any he has seen, and to say the problems are not urgent enough is completely inaccurate.”We are trying to get a meeting with somebody up there to find out why we were not approved and what we have to do to get back into consideration,” he said. “We need those renovations badly, so we are very disappointed.”Revere is looking past the statewide school construction announcement to 2009 when Mayor Thomas Ambrosino hopes money for a new Paul Revere School will be on the list.”I wasn’t anticipating we would be on the list of the first group selected. I think they are trying to take care of communities that haven’t seen a lot of school building money lately,” Ambrosino said Wednesday.Ambrosino hopes the state will provide 75 percent to 80 percent of the $20.4 million cost of building a new Paul Revere. The city will then seek a simil

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