Bourne Board Of Selectmen Gives Support For Peebles Statement Of Intent

The Bourne school department will try once again to get financial assistance from the state for the purpose of building a new James F. Peebles Elementary School.

It is the latest attempt by the school department to approach the state for funding for a new school. In December 2012, school officials announced that their application had been turned down by the state.

School committee member Christopher J. Hyldburg went before the Bourne Board of Selectmen Tuesday night, asking for their support in filing a Statement of Interest with the Massachusetts School Building Authority.

Mr. Hyldburg chairs the school committee’s budget subcommittee, and serves on the facilities sub-committee. He said that if the school department’s application is accepted, the state could allocate somewhere between 44 and 47 percent of the cost of building a new school.

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Selectman Linda M. Zuern questioned Mr. Hyldburg about future enrollment at Peebles. Ms. Zuern asked if he saw a downward trend in enrollment over the next five to 10 years. Mr. Hyldburg said he did not, especially with the emergence of kindergarten and pre-kindergarten. He added that the state examines the layout of a building and its classroom space, along with enrollment numbers, when they make a decision on which school to accept.

“They don’t just count all the square footage and all the students and divide it up. They look at the actual productive teaching space. Peebles is not laid out in the best form for that so that allows it to qualify a little bit more than a sister school,” he said.

Selectman Donald J. Pickard pointed out that filing the statement of interest simply puts Bourne on a list with no guarantee of acceptance by the MSBA. Mr. Hyldburg said that was correct, but he felt confident that the agency would look favorably this go around.

“This is a golden ticket list. It’s a really great opportunity if we were selected for this,” he said.

Board members voted unanimously to approve the school department’s statement of interest. Town administrator Thomas M. Guerino assured school superintendent Steven M. Lamarche that the minutes of Tuesday night’s meeting would be available by next week’s selectmen’s meeting. The minutes are necessary as part of the filing process with the school building authority.

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