ABOUT TOWN: Statement of Interests for Stoughton High and South School Could Be Signed Next Week
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TOWN MANAGER AND SELECTMAN CHAIRMAN EXPECTED TO SIGN SOI'S NEXT WEEK: Stoughton School Committee member Deborah Sovinee was concerned that the municipal officials hadn't signed the Statement of Interests for building a new Stoughton High School and new South Elementary School, which were passed unanimously on November 1st, by both the School Committee and Selectmen.
These SOIs would put Stoughton into the mix for possible state funding down the road for the High School and the South School.
Sovinee, in part, wrote to a few media outlets on Tuesday regarding the difficulty of getting signatures from Selectman Chairman John Stagnone and Town Manager Frank Crimmins. The statements need to be signed by the chairs of both the Board of Selectmen and School Committee, as well as by the Town Manager and Superintendent of Schools.
"Two weeks of requesting both the Town Manager, and most recently, the Chairman of the B.O.S., John Stagnone, to sign the Statements of Interest on addressing the issues of both the High School and South School have not been successful,” Sovinee wrote.
“I, along with Joel Harding [Supervisor of Support Services for the Stoughton Public Schools], offered to personally meet with the town manager next week to answer any lingering questions about this very simple application process.”
Town Manager Francis T. Crimmins, Jr. said he does intend to sign it.
But, he told About Town, "I asked town counsel to take a peak at it. When I get it back, I'll make a final decision. I just saw it for the first time on November 1. It's important and I want to review it thoroughly.
“It's a multi-million dollar project. I wanted to see some backup information. It's an ongoing situation, and I am aware of the obligation of myself and the selectman on this like any other building project in the town."
But, the timing of the signing of the SOI's could have an impact, according to School Committee Chairman Joyce Husseini. In a letter to Selectman John Stagnone, which was distributed at her request to the entire Board, Husseini wrote:
"Mr. Crimmins has not given any reason, either written or verbal, for not signing. Without valid reason for not signing, I believe that Mr. Crimmins may be in violation of state law, by not carrying out the will of the Board of Selectmen. The BOS is aware of the time sensitive nature of this process, and I appreciate your board's actions in approving the Statements.
“Prompt submittal of the SOIs to the Massachusetts School Building Authority will allow the Feasibility Committee to proceed with their work. Mr. Crimmins inaction on this matter is obstructing the work of the Feasibility Committee and the ability to access state expertise and the loss potentially of millions of dollars of state money."
Selectman Chairman John Stagnone said, "Everything will be fine. We'll get there."
He noted that even though he hasn't signed the SOI's yet, he and the rest of the Board fully supports them.
"Frank has some questions he wants answered. When he gets those answers, he'll let me know. We'll sign together. We have absolutely no plans to rescind the SOI's. In fact, I've already committed to joining the tour Deb Sovinee arranged on December 9 of Norwood's new high school."
According to Sovinee, a meeting has been scheduled on Monday with the town manager to answer any questions and concerns he may have, or town counsel may have expressed.
It's expected that Crimmins and Stagnone would jointly sign the SOI's then, if they are satisfied with the wording of both documents.