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Manchester school study could include 'repurposing' recommendations

By PAUL FEELY
New Hampshire Union Leader

January 22. 2018 11:20PM
DR. BOLGEN VARGAS 



MANCHESTER — School officials expect to hear the results of the district facilities study — including recommendations for possible closures or repurposing among city schools — early next week.

Fred Matuszewski of the architectural firm Corzilius Matuszewski Krause (CMK) Architects told board members he expects to meet with Superintendent of Schools Dr. Bolgen Vargas to review the Long Range Facilities Plan his firm has been preparing for the district on Jan. 29.

“We have interviewed all the principals, a couple of hours with each principal,” said Matuszewski. “Documents have been prepared and a report will be coming forward. I apologize for the delay, but the issues we are being presented with are complex.”

School Board Vice Chairman Art Beaudry of Ward 9 asked Matuszewski if his report on Jan. 29 would include information on possible repurposing or “closing down” recommendations for school facilities.

“That will be part of the report,” said Matuszewski.

Vargas said after meeting with Matuszewski next week, he plans to come to the full board on Feb. 12 — or prior to that if a special meeting is called — to review a draft proposal for any redistricting or repurposing efforts that may result from the facilities plan.

“Then about six weeks later we will come to you with a proposal that incorporates feedback I receive from our various groups, including families and students,” said Vargas. “We will engage our teachers and administrators and everyone this plan would impact. You will see everything I see.”

Committeeman David Scannell of Ward 2 asked if the facilities plan would result in any effort to “move the lines” in terms of redistricting. Matuszewski said his report does not suggest “moving lines.”

“What I keep hearing from this process is that we are not looking at moving lines any time in the near future,” said Scannell. “There is a narrative out there that there is no will among school board members to move lines, but that seems to be off the table here. That needs to be the headline — that we are not looking at changing the lines.”

Vargas said he would need to have direction from the board regarding moving forward on any redistricting changes by late April to put them in place for the 2018-2019 school year and notify the community.

pfeely@unionleader.com


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