Officials to propose Minot Forest Elementary School close due to budget cuts

By Lydia Goerner | Feb 23, 2018
Photo by: Lydia Goerner Minot Forest Elementary School could be closed due to budget cuts, according to sources.

Wareham school officials will propose closing Minot Forest Elementary to help bridge a $1 million gap in next year's budget.

The closure would cause a massive movement of students. Sources told Wareham Week that fourth-grade students currently attending Minot Forest would be moved to Wareham Middle School, while the younger students would be moved temporarily to "portable" classrooms attached to Decas Elementary.

Officials will discuss various options for cuts at a public hearing scheduled during the School Committee’s Feb. 28 meeting. The hearing will start at 7 p.m. in the Wareham Middle School auditorium.

The district's administration has not released specific information about any proposals, though Business Manager Michael MacMillan confirmed that the Minot Forest Elementary closure is on the table.

“By combining schools, we will realize some savings,” MacMillan said. In combining schools, he said he is looking for a “situation we could live with for a year or two.”

The School Building Committee is currently working on a preliminary design proposal for a new, combined elementary school and has been considering a rebuild of Minot Forest Elementary that would accommodate approximately 1,020 students from pre-kindergarten to fourth grade (currently, Minot Forest Elementary has around 406 students and John W. Decas Elementary has 577).

The district’s draft budget currently calls for spending $29.4 million for the upcoming school year. That figure contrasts with what town officials say is available, due to lackluster revenues. In early February, Town Administrator Derek Sullivan presented a draft budget to Selectmen with $28.4 million allocated for schools.

“We do expect to cut administration, school leadership and teaching positions,” said MacMillan.

No final decisions have been made yet. MacMillan said officials are looking at all areas of spending in the district and all positions are being reviewed.

“These cuts are going to involve everybody,” he said. “Hopefully we can reach this decision as a school community.”

School Committee Chair Judy Caporiccio urged those interested in the finding out more to attend the hearing and offer their input.

"This is a difficult time for all of us, but we must work together, look at all options, listen to parents and stakeholders, and keep in mind that we need to make decisions that are best for the children of Wareham," she said. "We have been telling the public for a number of years that we are in a fiscal crisis."

Assistant principals at Wareham Public Schools have also been told their positions will be eliminated for the coming school year due to the shortfall, sources told Wareham Week.

“Changes in the budget will seriously impact how our district will be operating,” Superintendent Dr. Kimberly Shaver-Hood told School Committee members earlier this month. “These potential changes are monumental and will change how education is offered in Wareham.”

Comments (17)
Posted by: cranky pants | Feb 23, 2018 13:07

If you think that school was in shambles before, let it sit closed up and vacant for a few years...

Posted by: bob | Feb 23, 2018 16:09

Good point C.P,just look at the Everett School on Gibbs Ave.,If I recall our T.A. a few years ago was venting as to be the best thing to do with the school..Well its just falling apart as he vents what to do with it....Welcome to Wareham....

Posted by: rhbinma | Feb 23, 2018 19:41

They need to get rid a lot of the admin people.I went to schools with 800-1000 people and all we had was a principal and asst principal. Now  with half or less they they need 2-3 asst principals and a principal that is crazy. And when i went to school there was no computers in schools with technology it seems like they need more teachers  and staff  not like the real world where computers are taking people jobs.

Posted by: noseyrich | Feb 24, 2018 08:51

The schools were supposed to educate kids when I went to them in the 50's & 60's. Today they are run by the most powerful UNION in the state and their purpose is to provide verrrrry lucrative pensions for teachers as a primary purpose, secondary to that is brainwashing our kids with unamerican theology. The town should close all schools and fire all teachers and parents should homeschool if they can or send them to private schools. Lots of individuals and businesses go broke trying to seem to be financially stable when they are not, Wareham is like that. Snap Out Of It!!! Also review the headlines from Wareham Week over the past couple of week ... Multi million $$$ grants requested, shortfalls in budgets, water rates doubling ...Got it yet?

Posted by: Rosebud | Feb 25, 2018 09:05

I agree with Noseyrich as to the teachers’ union.  It’s somtimes a case of the tail wagging the dog, and the students are the losers.  That being said, there are many good, dedicated teachers out there.

Posted by: cranky pants | Feb 25, 2018 10:20

Our town is trying to close schools, yet Dakota is trying to stuff 200-some odd units of housing down our throats...

Sure, we'll gladly take in all these new families I just hope they are home schooled... And don't drink water.

Posted by: Newlyaresident | Feb 25, 2018 18:33

You’d think maybe Shaver-Hood might stand up and make a symbolic offer to forego her raise, but apparently she wants to be first in line to proliferate the scare tactics and feed at the taxpayer trough. Thanks Madam  superintendent.

And maybe we don’t need 2 busses driving down Onset Ave. everyday picking up and delivering. What an inconvenience if the kids had to ride with older kids or make an extra school stop for everyone to disembark!

it appears to be out of control and a free-for-all for spending whatever budget is allocated!

Get a new Superintendent and get the rid of the business manager position completely?

Posted by: WWreader | Feb 25, 2018 21:25

Why should educators have to give up their raises? Really? In what other professional field do you expect people to do that? Why not ask every town employee to give up their raises? Why should any employee in any field have to give up a raise? Would you give up yours?

Posted by: Newlyaresident | Feb 26, 2018 08:09

Why don’t you check with the people who won’t have job. I bet they’d give up a raise vs. losing their income!

Posted by: Peaches0409 | Feb 26, 2018 09:29

Noseyrich you do realize that the teachers pay into their own retirement plans and that they don't collect social security right? It's not like the town is paying the teachers retirement. Wake up! Teachers work very hard. They don't just spend 7 hours in the classroom. They spend their own money for supplies. They work countless hours after school on lesson plans and grading papers. Pull your head out of your proverbial.....

Posted by: desertsky | Feb 26, 2018 12:03

I think some of you uninformed readers need to know how teacher's retirement is accrued!!! Yes, they pay into a retirement plan...WE ALL're just forgetting to mention the portion that the TAXPAYER contributes to those retirement funds. Do you think the teachers pay a large portion of their own medical expenses after retirement?

Frankly, it's the best part time job around...and the bennies are amazing.


Posted by: philzao | Feb 26, 2018 12:39

After living in this town for more than 50 years, I do not believe that the problems with our under performing schools ( low test scores, behavioral problems ) are due to a lack of resources, a lack of devoted teachers, or staff.

I am sorry to say that I think the problem is the local gene pool.

There are always outliers that can be cited, but generally speaking if people with low IQ's and behavioral problems reproduce, you just get more people with low IQ's and behavioral problems.

No amount of money, staff or resources can fix limited mental capacity.

Posted by: philzao | Feb 26, 2018 12:55

Also, keep in mind that Massachusetts has the best...not second or third, but THE BEST school system in the United States.  Even the worst school in this state outperforms the best schools in many other states.

There should be a place for everyone in our economy.   I would support spending more money, and perhaps even an over ride if  Wareham had a vocational/trade school that would do a better job of supporting the 60ish percent of our students who are not college bound.

Lots of these kids would perform much better in a system that paid more attention to their aptitudes and strengths instead of frustrating them or trying to educate them past their native intelligence.

The only way that more tax money is going to help is if we face the reality of our demographics and design curriculum that gives some of these kids a fair shot at success.

Posted by: Wareham By The Sea | Feb 26, 2018 15:34



I appreciate your diplomacy.  It doesn't appear that you've offended anyone.  I should take notes on how to present because here is how I would have said what you said using my candor.


Your first comment was a nice way of saying the following:


  • Wareham has a lot of dumb people
  • The apples don't fall far from the tree
  • You can't fix stupid


Your second comment was a nice was of saying the following:


  • We are the worst of the best's not like this is Alabama.
  • Dumb, disruptive, troublemaking kids belong at the voc.


I agree with everything except the voc school comment. You struck a nerve.  WBTS is usually the one that does the offending....haha.  Back in the day, they did send all the dummies to the voc (aka the "joke").  You are right if it was still 1985.  Those days are gone!  Upper Cape is a fine school with difficult academics and talented students.  60% of Upper Cape kids go to college.  All the modern vocational schools are like that.  Why do you think our 8th graders are flocking to Upper Cape?  Wareham is losing their best students to the "voc".  Isn't it funny how the times have changed?  Upper Cape has an engineering program, a medical program , an IT program, and many more that are far more challenging than any program at an academic only high school!






Posted by: Curiouscat | Feb 27, 2018 06:30

I have to agree with Philzao.  By shutting Minot down we are already proving we do not need another elementary school so why not build a vocational school and keep our kids here instead of losing them to other towns?  I went to Wareham schools as did my child but I am so grateful I do not have to deal with schools anymore or I know for a fact I would not be using our local schools.  It floors me that we actually have to pay to send the students to out of town schools.  I believe if you want your child to go to Upper Cape or ORR than the parent should pay for this not the Town.  Tomorrow night's meeting should be most interesting.  Does anyone know if it will be televised for those unable to attend?

Posted by: Peaches0409 | Feb 27, 2018 09:00

You do realize that building a vocational school will change nothing right? First of all we have vocational programs at the high school already. They have culinary, wood shop, a school to work program. We pay a fixed amount to UCT as does every other town that sends kids there. We need a new elementary school. If Minot closes all of those kids will be sent to Decas which is already at full capacity. They will have to bring in portable classrooms. Closing Minot is only happening because the schools need to cut 2 million dollars from the budget because people in this town weren't smart enough to see the writing on the all and vote for an override. If any of you saw the presentation by Derek Sullivan about our tax base you would understand this.

Posted by: Steve Holmes | Feb 27, 2018 09:13

With todays changing economy and the future needs a vocational school is a great idea. Many jobs are and will be created and our work force currently does not have the vocational skills to meet those needs. If Wareham had a bocational school many kids may come from other communities to our school. And by the way i still believe the parents are our biggest issue. We all mention how things were when we went to school, well we still have most of the same buildings, many more teachers, etc. But the behavior issues come from home.

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