The Greater Lowell Technical School Committee and those inspiring to be appointed to it,should be paying close attention to what is happening in Dracut with that School District and layoffs and chaos in the school department because they lack adequate funding.
I believe you are watching the planned renovation project for the Greater Lowell Technical become a casualty of the Dracut School District.
(That should increase the turmoil and tension that already exist on this board, especially when one of the current Lowell members isn’t 100% behind the project anyway.)
The Technical School wants to do a repair/replacement, code upgrade project plus renovations to science labs, cafeteria, kitchen and an atrium addition with a total estimated cost of $65,809,939.
The Technical School needs the approval of 3 of the 4 sending communities to get State money and the balance of the cost for renovations gets passed on to Lowell, Dracut, Tyngsboro and Dunstable.
Last year Dracut residents approved doing a renovation for their own High School for around $47,200,000.00 +/- and this year they are looking at eliminating teachers and programs district wide. Do you think they will want to fund the Technical School any more than they already have to when they can’t fund their own district? I don’t!
Concern exist among some of the current Tech School Committee already that Tyngsboro will be against the plan unless the school switches to the State GIC insurance program because former Tech School board member Steve O’Neil has shown that by switching, the renovation cost to the communities would be lessened and that the Tech Budget could absorb the cost or a large part of it.
You think any Tech Committee or wannabe Tech School Committee member is going to come out and recommend that the school switch to the GIC and face the Union wrath? This is Mass not Wisconsin so I’m betting not but it may be the only way to save the renovation project.
If Dracut residents are angry over layoffs and lack of funding in their own district and are unhappy with the state funding formula, combined with their State Rep’s (who also serves Tyngsboro) concern over the admission policies, than Dracut voters could easily say NO to an additional cost from the Tech school whose Dracut contribution went up this year already. Combined with Tyngsboro that NO vote would kill the project and the school would lose out on the state money.
The proposal for the Tech would reach voters at next year’s Town meeting.
A case could be made that the Technical School has (much like Lowell) not done enough maintenance / repairs over the years and let the building deteriorate to the point it requires this much repair.
You also have to wonder why a Technical School which is supposed to train students in plumbing, electrical and other code based vocations has allowed its school to be in a position that they have to spend millions of dollars just on code upgrades.
I need to ask, if the school requires this much money to bring it up to code, is it safe? Does Tyngsboro inspect this building and has it passed code requirements? If so are the upgrades mandatory and what percentage of the cost is just for code upgrades?
It could also be argued that the cost has grown tremendously from where it started out and even as late has March of this year the Tech School committee rejected a proposal that called for repair/replacement /code upgrade only with a total estimated cost of $54,156,691.
$11.5 million less than the school is looking for under the current proposal and one that doesn’t involve upgrading science rooms or adding an atrium.
There are plenty of people to blame for the Dracut situation from the current Supt who is running away from the town after hiring administrators with large salaries and more para’s then ever, to the past school committee for approving teacher contracts with raises that cost the town in step increases also, to the present school committee for not voting to close the Parker School and save approx. $225, 00.00 or force a switch to the GIC Insurance to save money.
Mo matter where the blame rest, the Greater Lowell Technical School and their planned renovations looks to me to also be a casualty of the Dracut School District.