Let’s Talk About Center School, Casinos and More

Sunday, September 25 at 7:00 p.m.
Vineyard Church, 84 South Street, Hopkinton
DIRECTIONS: http://www.vineyardhopkinton.org/
Click here to RSVPFeel free to invite friends!

All Educate Hopkinton subscribers should have already received a punchbowl invitation by email. We hope many of you can attend. The evening will include an introduction about Educate Hopkinton, an update and discussion of the casino bill with Representative Carolyn Dykema and Selectman Ben Palleiko and an update and discussion of the Center School problem with School Committee Members Jean Bertschmann and Troy Mick. Please bring your questions or email them in advance to amyritterbusch@educatehopkinton.com. We want to hear from you on what school and town budget topics are of most interest to you this year.

MSBA Update on Center School / Fruit Street Project

On Friday, September 16, the Hopkinton School District received a response to Dr. Landman’s August 16 letter asking whether a Pre-K-3 school on the Fruit Street property would still be considered the “same” project. MSBA Director of Capital Planning, Mary Pichetti states in the letter “Before the MSBA can provide any further review, the District must present an updated, approved educational plan, one that has been the subject of community outreach and dialogue. The MSBA would need to understand: how the proposed revised educational plan meets the educational objectives of the District, as approved by the School Committee; what evidence there is that this revision is a project that the community would support; and whether this Project, as revised, would still be the most cost effective choice to support the District’s revised educational goals.” You can read the full letter on the district website at http://www.hopkinton.k12.ma.us/newweb2/schoolcommittee/building_projects/Buildingprojects/MSBA_Letter_9-16-11.pdf.

Casino Bill Update

On September 14, the Massachusetts House voted to authorize casino gaming in the Commonwealth. Hopkinton’s Representative Carolyn Dykema was one of 32 “no” votes against the bill. The bill authorizes three resort-style casinos spread across three regions of the state and one slot parlor bid competitively. Each region would be eligible for no more than one resort casino. Hopkinton and Milford are part of the region which includes Suffolk, Middlesex, Essex, Norfolk and Worcester Counties. Read more from Rep Carolyn Dykema

The Massachusetts Senate has formally scheduled Monday, September 26 to begin debate on the expanded gaming bill. In an effort to protect municipalities concerned about negative impacts from a bill to expand gaming in the Commonwealth, Hopkinton’s State Senator Karen Spilka filed amendments on September 22 with the Senate Clerk’s Office to strengthen safeguards and provide additional protections for surrounding communities. Read more from Senator Karen Spilka

What Can Hopkinton Residents Do?

  1. Write to our legislators and governor Deval Patrick. Snail mail is best, but in the interest of time you should feel free to call or email them if that is easier for you. 
  2. Educate Hopkinton is looking for more volunteers to help keep our subscribers informed about this important issue. Please contact Amy Ritterbusch at amyritterbusch@educatehopkinton.com if you can help. We already have two people who have stepped up to work on this issue, but could use more.

Contact Info
Senator Karen Spilka
State House – Room 511C
Boston, MA 02133
Representative Carolyn Dykema
State House – Room 473F
Boston, MA 02133
Gov. Deval Patrick (supports casino bill)
Massachusetts State House
Office of the Governor – Room 280
Boston, MA 02133
Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz (opposes casino bill)
Room 413-C State House
Boston, MA 02133
House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo (supports casino bill)
State House – Room 356
Boston, MA 02133
Senate President Therese Murray (supports casino bill)
State House – Suite 332
Boston, MA 02133

Elmwood School Roof Weathers Hurricane Irene Without a Leak

As reported by Al Rogers, Hopkinton Public Schools Director of Buildings & Grounds, at the September 1, 2011 School Committee Meeting, Elmwood School’s roof has had no leaks since the ice dams melted at the end of last winter. Said Rogers, “At the height of the hurricane and in the wind and rain, I was at Elmwood in that section of the building and it was dry.” When asked if it could happen again, Rogers said “That’s not to say that we couldn’t have another ice dam, but in the 12 years I’ve worked here we’ve never had a leak in that section.” Listen to the full conversation on HCAM. http://www.hcam.tv/government-meetings.
According to the 2006 Habeeb Report, the Elmwood School roof was last replaced in 1989, and the report estimated the cost to replace the roof at $731,025. The Elmwood roof replacement was classed by Habeeb as a priority level II. Many other priority I and II repairs, such as the Middle School Brown Gym wall, recommended in the report have already been completed. Read the 2006 Habeeb Capital Assessment report on Hopkins, Elmwood and the Middle School at http://www.hopkinton.k12.ma.us//newweb2/schoolcommittee/building_projects/Buildingprojects/CAPITAL_ASSET_FEB_06.pdf.

Hopkinton Unemployment Remains Low and Continues to Drop

The State recently announced unemployment figures for August 2011. Unemployment rates for Hopkinton continue to remain low compared to statewide and national averages, dropping to just 4.6% for August 2011. Unemployment in Milford, where a casino has been proposed, is also lower than the state average at 5.7% for August 2011. Most towns surrounding Milford also have unemployment rates lower than the state average, ranging from 4.6% to 6%, with only Bellingham having a high unemployment rate at 9.5%. Bellingham is on the opposite side of Milford from the proposed casino, which would be nestled between Route 85 and Route 16 on the Hopkinton/Holliston side of Milford. Click for a Google Map of the casino site.

Unemployment Rates at a Glance

Hopkinton Milford State National
Aug 2011 4.6% 5.7% 7% 9.1%
2010 6.4% 7.9% 8.5% 9.6%
2009 6.1% 7.9% 8.2% 9.3%
2008 3.9% 5.1% 5.3% 5.8%
2007 3.2% 4.3% 4.5% 4.6%

Sources Massachusetts Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development (EOLWD) 
& US Dept of Labor – Bureau of Labor Statistics 

Other Notes and News Updates

Meet Superintendent Landman – Community Dialogues
If you have not yet had a chance to attend one of these sessions, we highly recommend them. It is a great chance to get to know Dr. Landman and express what you like and don’t like about the Hopkinton Public Schools.

  • Saturday, September 24: 10:00 AM – Noon HHS Library
  • Wednesday, October 5: 10:30 AM – 12:30 PM Public Library
  • Tuesday, October 11: 6:30 – 8:30 PM Hopkins Library

Hopkinton News and Notes
Hopkinton announces process for replacing retiring asst. superintendent
By Michael Morton/Daily News staff, The MetroWest Daily News

Hopkinton ranks #13 in Towns with the highest rise in home prices
The Boston Globe

Hopkinton committee looks to ease Wood Street traffic
By Michael Morton/Daily News staff, MetroWest Daily News

Schools look at costs for building fixes in Hopkinton
By Michael Morton/Daily News staff, The MetroWest Daily News

Casino News and Notes
Senators work for better deal in casino legislation
By Michael Morton/Daily News staff and Krista Kano/Daily News correspondent

Boston Globe poll shows 53 percent of respondents support expanded gambling in Massachusetts, while 40 percent oppose.

Ashland selectmen want to be heard on casino issue
By Laura Krantz/Daily News staff, The MetroWest Daily News

Neighbors of Suffolk Downs http://www.neighborsofsuffolkdowns.org/
“Massachusetts’ elected officials have not conducted an unbiased study on the impact casinos will have on the state and host communities.”