Revere Schools Superintendent Diane Kelly gave the School Committee the latest update on the high school building project this week.
“Everyone knows by now that on Dec .12 the City Council voted to move the approval of the schematic design to the Ways and Means Subcommittee,” Kelly told the committee.
The City Council was uneasy with the project’s $499 million price tag. Councillors acknowledged that Revere needs and wants a new high school, but they felt that it was important to hear from Revere CFO Richard Viscay on if and how the city can pay for it. As Councillor-at-Large Dan Rizzo put it, “We’re not doing anyone any favors if we put the city into receivership for a new school.”
Kelly did not mention any numbers in her update, nor did she explain that councillors were troubled by the project’s budget, which has increased by $120 million over the design phase. She did tell committee members that the Ways and Means Subcommittee would not meet until after the New Year. “That means we will be missing the Massachusetts School Building Authority’s December deadline,” said Kelly. “What we were hoping to submit to the MSBA this month won’t be submitted until April. We won’t have a funding agreement with the MSBA until June, so it pushes the timeline out.
Kelly said the building committee was left with two choices. “Do we just let the timeline lapse, which means we will be finished with the project a year later, which will have some impact on financing, or do we push through and try to keep the project running with some money from the city?” Kelly asked. Kelly said the building committee can move forward with the project designer and builder, with the Mayor’s Office to clarify the funding and go back to the City Council with specific information.
“We’re working on it,” said Kelly. “It definitely felt like a setback. This was a hurdle we didn’t anticipate but we’ll overcome it.” “We’re a resilient group, our kids are resilient, our city is resilient. No matter what, this is going to be a fantastic school, something we can all be proud of, something our kids will thank us for and something even the City Council will be proud of, onward,” said Kelly.