Scarborough’s three K-2 schools have reached a “crisis stage” because of overcrowding and the town and the School Board must collaborate now to accelerate a lingering proposal for a new consolidated school, councilors said Wednesday.

“We’ve been able to make it work,” Councilor Jon Anderson said. “But to me, it seems like we’re there; we’re at the crisis stage. We have to do something. We need to do it now.”

The Blue Point, Pleasant Hill, and Eight Corners primary schools, with a total of 632 students, are overcrowded both in terms of student population and storage space, Superintendent Geoffrey Bruno said at a workshop Wednesday.

“There’s a lot of innovative things our teachers are doing,” Bruno said, such as lining the hallways with storage bins and putting file cabinets in faculty bathrooms.

Pleasant Hill was built in 1957, Eight Corners in 1959 and Blue Point in 1965. All three schools received additions in 1993. Since 2001, 18 of the district’s 30 portable classrooms have been added to the K-2 schools.

“More than half of the portables are over 20 years old,” Bruno said. “Portable classrooms, even when well taken care of, are really only designed for a life of 20 years.”


Without the portable classrooms, the schools are collectively undersized for the current student population by about 40,000 to 60,000 square feet, he said.

The need for three new schools or one consolidated K-2 school came up in 2014 during the town’s 2014-2016 long-range facilities planning process. It was decided then to put the idea on pause to verify population trends at the primary school level, according to School Board’s presentation Wednesday.

Options for a new school were evaluated again in 2017, and the school department applied for Department of Education funding. Out of 74 schools that applied that year, Eight Corners ranked 34th, Pleasant Hill 36th and Blue Point 49th, with only the top 15 schools receiving state funding.

In January 2020, the school board voted 5-2 to approve the Building Steering Committee’s recommendation of a consolidated primary school. After a hiatus during the pandemic, the committee resumed meetings in January 2022.

The School Board proposed a goal of completing construction in time for the 2027-28 school year. To do so, they would need to put the project to a town-wide vote by November 2023 and begin construction the following year, wrapping up by June 2027.

Councilors said collaboration is needed if that timeline is to be achieved.

“This is a great step forward, because the last thing that I think this community needs is a School Board and a Town Council that aren’t on the same page,” said Councilor Nicholas McGee. “I think more of these (meetings) as we go through this process is going to be helpful because we are one community. They’re all our children. We’re the parents who pick them up every day.”

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