To: Franklin School Committee Members
From: Sara E. Ahern, Ed.D. Superintendent of Schools
Re: Davis Thayer Elementary School Property
Date: June 9, 2022
I want to commend the administration, faculty and staff, families, and students for their work towards building a unifying culture at Keller Elementary School this year where students from the former Davis Thayer Elementary School and Keller Elementary School districts attend. It has not been easy and they have been focused on the student-centered nature of the transition and the building of a new school community.
As noted in two previous updates in the Superintendent’s Report, this fall, building principals walked the Davis Thayer school building and identified items to be repurposed throughout the district. This included classroom desks and tables, office furniture and chairs, and other instructional materials.
Throughout the year (and currently), the building is in use, providing much needed storage throughout the district. It has been holding some furniture and it is also holding all of the district and town COVID-related PPE. The building is being maintained by the Facilities Department at a lower cost, compared to normal operations.
As noted in January, we consulted with MSBA to inform them of steps we have taken, as taking Davis Thayer out of the purview of the School Committee has implications for future building projects. MSBA has been responsive and indicated that we have met notification requirements.
The Space Needs and Facilities Assessment Subcommittee has examined available space across the District, space needs based on our enrollment and specialized programs, and space utilization with an eye towards potential building projects and redistricting. Their presentation to the School Committee and community will be June 14, 2022. Although there are some places in the District that are pressure points related to space, the Facilities Assessment of the District’s schools pointed to places where Davis Thayer Elementary School could not meet current expectations for teaching and learning. This included inaccessibility and lack of ADA compliance, classrooms spaces that do not meet contemporary instructional standards, and concerns related to the physical safety of the facility. As such, the administrative team continues to believe that the Davis Thayer Elementary School is not a viable solution.
Therefore, I recommend that pursuant to Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 40, Section 15A, that the School Committee declare that the Davis Thayer Elementary School property is no longer needed for school purposes, and further that the School Committee notify the Town Council of that determination.
Action Item and text of memo in PDF form ->