School consolidation study under way

Sep 13, 2022

MATTAPOISETT – A study to assess consolidation of Mattapoisett elementary schools is under way and on track to be completed by April of 2023.

“School consolidation has been discussed for a long time,” Town Administrator Mike Lorenco explained when the study was brought up in the spring. “Enrollment is down, and we’re one of the only places in the region that has the separation of grades K-3 and 3-6.”

Those schools are the Center School, which houses students K-3, and Old Hammondtown School, which is attended by students in grades 4-6.

The study will be done by The University of Massachusetts Collins School for Public Management and funded by a grant. The study will only provide the town with information and will not determine whether the schools will be combined.

When the study was presented to the Mattapoisett School Committee in the spring, the committee expressed concerns with the fast-paced timeline.

Initially, the Collins Center proposed submitting a final draft in September.

Committee chairperson Carly Lavin expressed concern over the fact that much of the research and community outreach would be done during a time when “families switch into summer mode.”

The timeline has now been adjusted, and the town now expects to receive the final draft in April of 2023, said Superintendent Mike Nelson.

At the Mattapoisett School Committee meeting on Monday, Sept. 12, Nelson stated that a small team including himself, Lavin, Lorenco, and Chuck McCullough of the Community Preservation Committee met with members of the Collins Center about the study.

Nelson said the purpose of the meeting was to discuss project goals, the scope of work based on feedback from town officials, and the timeline for the study.

The study is currently in the data collection and research phase through November. During this time, there will be public outreach, with forums scheduled for community feedback and a survey sent out.

The community forums are not scheduled at this point, and the survey has not yet been shared with the public. The best times and setting for the public forums are still being discussed.

The Collins Center will also conduct school visits in September and October.

The small group will continue to meet regularly with the Collins Center, with another meeting scheduled in October.

“It’s a very aggressive timeline,” said Lavin. “But I think a number of items that we talked about with the Collins Center in the spring have been incorporated in the new scope.”