Hingham Parents React to the Foster Freeze-Out



Parents took to Hingham Pinboard and Hingham Discussion Board today upon hearing that students at Foster Elementary had been transferred to Hingham High School due to a loss of heat in the school. With outside temperatures hovering in the 20’s and 30’s today, staying in the unheated school was not an option. While funding for upgrades to the school has been the topic of discussion for several years, the issue was brought to the forefront today, and parents are hoping for answers.
*The boilers at Foster school are now working again and school will resume as usual tomorrow. However, with winter weather just beginning parents are concerned about the state of the heating system in the months ahead.
According to a report in the Hingham Journal in October 2017, the Town is currently awaiting a decision from the Massachusetts School Building Authority regarding the updated Statement of Interest that was submitted by the school building committee seeking financial assistance for repairs or a new school.  The school building committee was anticipating a response in early-December; however, the school department confirmed for the Anchor today that funding has not been announced yet.
Thank you, parents for sharing your thoughts with the community today. Let’s keep the discussion going.

On behalf of myself and my Foster  PTO co-president, Tom Cahillane, we are proud of the way our students, teachers and staff handled the situation this morning. The quick reactions from many parents is also positive. That said, while the students are enjoying their adventure at the high school today, we also hope this leads to a serious discussion and lasting resolution regarding the future of Foster School.” – Sara Abbott, Foster PTO Co-President 

First off, I think the school did a great job communicating about the issue and I’m sure that my two little boys loved going to the high school today.  On the other hand, Foster School hasn’t changed much since I myself was there in the 1980’s. I don’t think anyone is being complacent about the need for an upgrade and I know that a lot of work has gone into this already, so I’m grateful to the people who are advocating for our schools. More than anything, this heating issue reminded me that as a parent, I need to pay better attention to where we are with this and help support their work.” – Rosamund Conroy

Just picked up my son, a Foster School student, from the High School where he and the entire student body and staff of Foster School have been relocated because Foster has no heat today. They are being entertained in the HHS auditorium and watching the movie “Toy Story”. A big thank you to all the Foster School staff, HHS staff and especially our Foster School principal and assistant principal for problem solving so well and keeping everything calm, safe and for problem solving this situation.

This will impact everyone in Hingham. If Foster School students need to be relocated again and for a longer amount of time, all students and town buildings will be impacted. The other schools, perhaps Town Hall and the Senior Center, and who knows what other town facilities, will have to accommodate 500 displaced students and staff somehow. Foster School’s building problems truly are every Hingham Resident’s problem. 

For the past 2-3 years the Foster School community, including the PTO, has been asking Hingham School District Central Administration to outline and share with us their plans for a situation just like this, as well as what the plan will be if there is a problem that keeps the students out of the building for a longer duration, be it a week or longer. We have been told that the school district will “cross that bridge when we get to it”. The school’s heat has failed in classrooms throughout the building for years now, so today was an inevitability, not simply a possibility. I did hear rumors that there been a few plans beginning to be drafted, however none of these have been shared with the parents of our school community despite our requests for the past few years. It is my personal opinion that putting an entire school into an auditorium and showing “Toy Story” was not a valid “plan” but instead a “quick” solution. As well as today was handled, the school district has a responsibility to ALL of our schools to have plans in place for situations just like this and to communicate them effectively to the community. This is not a new concept, the old Middle School had its roof compromised and required student relocation. I am extremely disappointed in the school district for pushing this problem off and not addressing it before now, and I hope that you join me in requesting that central administration takes the time to create plans and solutions for ALL of our schools, especially Foster School, in the case of a facility emergency and that they SHARE these plans with the public openly and with transparency.”  – Susannah Sprong Cahillane


-Foster School: Watercolor painting by Renee’ MacMurray from Foster PTO website

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