MASHPEE – Mashpee Selectmen are backing down from any talk about pulling out of the Cape Cod Regional Technical School district.
Town officials are concerned with its estimated $18 million share of a proposed $143 million facility which has been approved by the Massachusetts School Building Authority.
“The Mashpee Board of Selectmen has decided not to pursue special legislation that would allow it to withdraw from the Cape Cod Technical Regional High School district,” said Selectman Andrew Gottlieb.
Gottlieb said the town is still concerned with the cost for the proposed school and why Cape Cod Tech has the third highest per pupil cost to educate a student for technical high schools in the state.
“I think that the idea that was floated to withdraw from the district was out of a frustration with the non-responsiveness to the high cost of the new facility,” Gottlieb said
Mashpee will be sending a letter to Cape Cod Tech’s administration and school committee to provide further information on why the cost basis is so high compared to other schools and to better understand the technology and uses of the new building.
Gottlieb said the discussions to withdraw were not a statement about not valuing technical education.
“It has to come at the same reasonable price as experienced elsewhere in the state in order to be justified to our voters,” Gottlieb said.
Several residents recently expressed concerns about wanting to make sure students in town would still have access to a technical education.
Selectmen previously discussed placing an article on the town meeting warrant to ask legislators to allow the town to pull out of the district.
Cape Tech Superintendent Robert Sanborn said he is working with all 12 towns to make the new school as affordable as possible, including working with legislators to get a higher reimbursement rate.
“I think the fruits of that labor are starting to happen. I’m not declaring victory yet,” Sanborn said. “I’m hoping to say that the reimbursement rate will be going up a little bit.”
The feasibility phase of the new school has just been completed and the project now heads to the schematic design phase.
“[The] finer points and cost estimates and design are looked at even closer,” Sanborn said. “Towards the end of that process, which would probably be in the late summer, we will have the final numbers.”
The current numbers that have been discussed with officials from the member towns are “a worst case scenario,” according to Sanborn.
Sanborn said he will work to bring costs down as much as possible, but that he also has a responsibility to the vocational technical students for the next 50 years to provide them with an appropriate facility.
“Virtually all of the schools on the Cape have been redone or are going to be redone in one fashion or another, and it’s Cape Cod Tech’s time,” Sanborn said.
Cape Tech allowed Mashpee into its school’s district in 1981 when the town was looking for a vocational education option.
By BRIAN MERCHANT, CapeCod.com NewsCenter