The recent decision to close Johnson Elementary School was a difficult one. During the weeks leading up to the decision, I heard a recurring theme: that it was hard to accept the closure of a school as a positive action without knowing what was coming next.
While not a school closure, our years at Lilja saw modular classrooms added to accommodate increased enrollment. We appreciated the effort to keep class sizes small, but to this day, we see ongoing negative consequences from a bigger school size, like increased traffic during drop-off/pick-up, insufficient capacity for families who need help from ASAP, and lost playground and outdoor space. Modular classrooms were a mere band-aid for the complex problem of aging school buildings and a decade of increasing school enrollment.
The School Committee has asked school administration to prepare a proposal for a new elementary school. As this work proceeds, we have an opportunity to come together as a community and clearly articulate a vision for Natick elementary schools that goes beyond how big a new school needs to be and where it can be built. I am eager to help build solutions that lead to an even better elementary system overall.