WINCHESTER - Winchester’s Public Schools are zipping along thanks to the override passed in the spring that gave the town extra money to help grow the school department’s educational budget. It also allowed them to add a much desired world language program to the middle school.
According to School Committee Chair Michelle Bergstrom, “the override gave a huge facelift to our students and staff.”
Three of Winchester’s schools have been recognized for distinction by the state, she added.
Bergstrom also updated Town Meeting on the ongoing work at McCall Middle School. She said the project to add additional classrooms and expand the cafeteria is “making excellent progress. It’s on time and on budget.”
Speaking about enrollment, Bergstrom noted it’s increased by 34 percent since 2002. In total, Winchester has 4,814 students enrolled across its elementary, middle and high schools with 1,423 specifically attending Winchester High School and 1,118 attending McCall Middle School. She said the largest class was in the sixth grade.
Looking ahead, the School Committee Chair mentioned the possibility of even more students coming to town thanks to the addition of 400 or more housing units over a number of potential 40B projects either proposed (River Street) or currently facing an appeal (Cambridge Street). These projects could add 250-300 more students.
Superintendent Judy Evans also spoke, mentioning the need for more classroom space. She discussed adding an elevator at the Parkhurst School to make it ADA compliant in the event they need to use it. The school could become swing space if the town ever moves forward with replacing the Muraco or Lynch elementary schools.
Evans mentioned the recently passed Student Opportunity Act, as well, which means more funding for the Massachusetts School Building Authority. More MSBA money means a greater chance the town receives state funding to help replace either the Muraco or Lynch schools. (Both are old buildings in need of replacing, Evans and the School Committee have noted for months, but it’s highly unlikely the state would agree to fund both at the same time.)