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School Building Project Moves Forward

Milford's plan to rebuild Woodland Elementary School has been declared an "eligible" project by the state.

The school district and town now need to appoint members to a School Building Committee.

Following the Massachusetts School Building Authority's (MSBA) vote to approve Milford's Woodland School Project as "eligible" for consideration for state financial support, Milford School Superintendent Robert Tremblay addressed the School Committee at the March 1 meeting, updating Board members on the next phase of the process.

Tremblay presented the board with an official "compliance certification" for Chairperson Lori Baranauskas to sign on behalf of the Committee. The compliance certification, he explained, states "we're going to do everything the MSBA told us we have to do, in accordance with the law." Town Counsel Gerald Moody has reviewed the document.

Signing the document allows the next step in the process, providing the MSBA with a list of School Building Committee members by April 9. School Committee Chairperson, Lori Baranauskas sought clarification, asking, "So you need to name to the Department of Education, a School Building Committee by April 9, knowing that the Town Meeting hasn't even approved it yet?"

Board member Patrick Holland, who shared in a recent conference call with Tremblay and representatives of the MSBA, told the Board that the MSBA had "a great number of defined positions" [required for the Building Committee] that "we need to put in place before we can even bring it to the town".

Though the state stops short of determining how many members the committee must have, they require that the committee contain individuals with very specific qualifications. Tremblay said Town Counsel had recommended that the committee be comprised of 15 members, which is the same number as the last School Building Committee and a number that was deemed "manageable." Of the 15 members, at least one School Committee member is required. Baranauskas stated having served on the last Building Committee, appointing three School Committee members seemed to work best "because everyone can't always make every meeting."

Baranauskas said two members of the School Committee, Michael Walsh and Patrick Holland, had already indicated their interest in serving. She then asked if any other members might wish to be included on the committee and when none expressed interest, it was decided to vote on the inclusion of Walsh and Holland to the Building Committee, leaving a third Board member to be determined at a later date. Beyond voting on their own representatives to the Building Committee, the Board has no input in regard to the other appointments.

According to the MSBA the committee must include: a member who is also MCPPO (Massachusetts Certified Public Purchasing Official) qualified; the Town Administrator; member(s) of the School Committee; the Superintendent of Schools; a local official responsible for building maintenance; a representative authorized by law to construct school buildings; a School Principal; a member knowledgeable in the educational mission and function of the facility (i.e. teacher); a local budget official or member of local finance committee and members of the community with architecture, engineering and/or construction experience.

Tremblay said Town Moderator Michael Noferi stated once Town Meeting approves a School Building Committee, "then they'll be posting for available vacancies ... if there are any".

The School Committee will discuss the project at their next meeting.

Following the submission of the School Building Committee to the MSBA, the district would then conduct a "feasibility study on the entire project," according to an earlier press release from Tremblay.


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