Trailer for sale or rent...
So last night at our illustrious Select Board meeting, during a routine discussion of repackaging outstanding loans into one cheaper bond issue--refinanced with a low 2.16% interest rate--Chair Stephanie O'Keeffe asked Finance Director Sandy Pooler about the current status of the (not so) portable modular classrooms at the former Mark's Meadow Elementary School, a building owned by UMass.
"Stationary," he responded laconically.
Had Mr. Pooler been around five years ago when the classrooms were first purchased for $220,000 he probably would not now be so flippant.
Perhaps no single incident best captures the hubris of the pre-Catherine Sanderson Amherst School Committee, where the rubber stamp was routinely pressed into action, better than the portable classrooms fiasco. Although warned on the floor of Town Meeting about declining enrollments at Mark's Meadow by longtime town meeting contrarian Nancy Gordon, the portable classrooms unanimously endorsed by the School Committee passed overwhelmingly.
In fact, at the time, School Committee Chair (and UMass School of Education Assistant Director Center for Education Policy) Andy Churchill stated: "the School Committee needs to look hard at whether we need to add two or four modular classrooms, understanding that there is a financial component to be considered." So I guess it could have been (twice as) worse.
Just three years later, at Catherine Sanderson's bold urging, Mark's Meadow was closed and the portable classrooms, never actually put to use as classrooms serving students, lay fallow.
Now they are too expensive to move ($50,000 or more) and negotiations with UMass to purchase them seem to be going nowhere.
Yes, Ms. O'Keeffe should have banished Mr. Pooler to the woodshed for his dry sense of humor. Or better yet, to our abandoned, useless, expensive, modular classrooms.