What happens if the November 7 referendum does not pass?
- Don’t panic! The School Department has presented a “sky is falling!” narrative if voters reject the $160 million bond issue on November 7. This is fear-mongering in an attempt to push through voter approval of the referendum.
- There are a few measures which can be taken to bridge the gap between the need for additional classroom space and when a more permanent solution could be completed should the referendum fail. The 2027-28 school year is when the elementary schools will experience a jump in population and the year that the Building Committee has said we will need to set up a “small city of modular classrooms in a parking lot somewhere.” What are alternatives to allow us to manage any interim needed for a long-term solution to be developed and constructed?
- First, our schools always have a certain amount of flexibility with the number of classes in each grade and number of students per class. Scarborough’s class size goals vary by grade, and the state has guidelines as well. We have calculated that the current 38 regular classrooms at the existing elementary schools for grades K-2 can accommodate the population projected for 2027-28. Although not ideal, class size would grow but be within the range our schools have set, except for a small number of kindergarten rooms which would exceed the goal by one student. In addition, both Blue Point and Eight Corners have 7 additional regular classrooms each, used for other programs and services which could be converted back to regular classroom use to reduce class size.
- There are other possibilities as well. Wentworth will continue to be below its capacity of 800 students until at least 2030. A limited number of classrooms could be set up there. We estimate there could be between 4 and 9 classrooms available to handle the temporary overflow of elementary students depending on how class size is configured. In addition, Wentworth was designed to easily be expanded to 900 students by adding additional classroom space. If enrollment projections are true, Wentworth will need to be expanded by 2031 anyway, and if the expansion were ready by 2027-28, it could serve our Grade 2 population pending a more permanent solution.
- We recognize that none of these are ideal solutions but would bridge the gap to a long-term solution.