School officials consider turning Barrett into an elementary school


George Sharkey

The City of Belmont and the Belmont-Redwood Shores School District are considering converting Barrett Community Center into a small elementary school to help resolve the overcrowding issues at the current schools in the district.

George Sharkey, Staff Writer

Overcrowding in the Belmont-Redwood Shores School District (BRSSD) is causing officials to look at Barrett Community Center as a fix.

According to BRSSD’s website, “Over the last 10 years, our school district enrollment has grown by 70 percent.”

Michael Milliken, the superintendent of BSSRD, said that they added classrooms to Nesbit School in 2015 and are currently adding classrooms to Cipriani Elementary School.

A committee, consisting of  Mayor Charles Stone, Belmont City Council member Eric Reed, BRSSD Board President Robert Tashjian, and BRSSD Board member Suvarna Bhopale, has been put in place to see if it’s reasonable to improve Barrett and use it to address the overcrowding issue.

Milliken said, “The committee is exploring if a joint effort between the city and district would allow for both the city to improve its community center and for the district to educate elementary students there, perhaps creating a very small school.”

The committee has met twice so far on Feb. 1 and Feb. 27 and is still figuring out the legal parameters, the logistics, as well as the possible costs and funding sources.

According to Milliken, about 50 kindergartners are forced to attend Fox and Nesbit even though they live closer to Cipriani Elementary School and Central Elementary School. Milliken said that this adds to the traffic on Ralston Avenue and undermines the principle of neighborhood schooling.

According to the Belmont Patch, Barrett Community Center used to be an elementary school, but in 1985, the City of Belmont acquired it and turned it into a community center. The community center now houses a preschool and various after school programs.

While there are plans to build more classrooms at existing schools, making Barrett a small school would help allow elementary kids go to school in their neighborhoods and reduce the traffic on Ralston Avenue.

Milliken said, “This is a very preliminary effort so far.”

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