Last night the School Committee voted to approve the proposed four-classrooms-per-grade educational program for a new Zervas, which will bring capacity up 50% to 490 students on the current site.
To deal with expected traffic issues, the architects are considering the use of some space for a loop driveway, similar to Bowen’s, to take some of the Blue Zone pickup/dropoff traffic off the street.
In the discussion before the vote, Diana Fisher Gomberg noted her work with the Zervas Building Committee and her confidence that outstanding issues will be resolved successfully with community input.
Ruth Goldman, who attended Bowen in 1972 when it had 200 students, noted that it now has 504 students, that the tide has turned in Newton away from smaller schools, and it is now time for Zervas, particularly with its central location, to turn and join the fleet.
Ellen Gibson echoed those comments, and Margie Ross Decter also spoke in favor of the proposal.
Margaret Albright said it was too early to vote on this proposal because more time was needed to gather community input and get the community more comfortable with this change.
Steve Siegel noted that, as the School Committee representative from the Zervas area, a former Zervas parent, a current tutor at Zervas, and a neighbor impacted by the expected traffic issues, he had a lot to consider. He cited the knowledge he gained in his close work on the Angier and Zervas Building Committees, which has led him to support the four-classroom-per-grade educational model as the best for Newton.
All present voted for the proposal except for Margaret Albright, who voted against. The Mayor was absent.
I think both Steve Siegel and Margaret Albright showed particular courage in their votes, each in his/her own way.
In related news: This morning Bowen held a forum for parents to meet with city and school officials to discuss safety and frustration around their school’s Blue Zone.